Memphis officials seriously considering Penny Hardaway to replace Tubby Smith

Memphis legend Penny Hardaway is “actively preparing to be a college coach” and has already started identifying possible future staff members, multiple sources have told CBS Sports. Meantime, Memphis president Dr. David Rudd told the Commercial Appeal on Tuesday that his administration is “going to evaluate the program at the end of the year,” which effectively confirms what CBS Sports has learned: Memphis is seriously considering firing Tubby Smith and replacing him with Hardaway.

An attempt to reach Hardaway for comment was not immediately successful.

The former NBA All-Star currently runs the Team Penny Nike EYBL program and serves as the coach at East High in Memphis — where he has assembled an incredible roster favored to soon win a state championship. Between Team Penny and East, Hardaway has ties to three top-40 players in the Class of 2019 — No. 1 James Wiseman, No. 26 D.J. Jeffries and No. 40 Chandler Lawson.

A source told CBS Sports one person Hardaway would likely target for a position on staff is Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown. Coincidentally, or perhaps not, Brown was on 92.9 FM ESPN in Memphis on Feb. 26 and spoke glowingly about Hardaway.

“Penny is one of my favorite guys of all time,” Brown said last week. “He was all about winning and team. When I got into

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