The Memphis Tigers Mens Basketball program will start its quest for a great season with a summer trip to Nassau in the Bahamas.
Memphis will travel to Nassau on Aug. 12-19, playing four games. The Tigers will play games on Wednesday and Thursday and again on Saturday and Sunday, before returning to Memphis.
“This is a big trip for us. We are going over there for a week,” said Tigers Head Coach Penny Hardaway. “We are going to play in front of the nation to play as a group.”
According to NCAA rules, a team is allowed to travel internationally once every four years. The Tigers last international trip was to Canada in 2014.
The Tigers are already allowed 10 practices days with the team this summer according to NCAA rules. All of the players are expected to be enrolled in summer school beginning June 3. And they will need as much practice as they can get. With eight newcomers and three other players who sat out last season, Head Coach Penny Hardaway will need practice time to get his roster to gel.
The eight newcomers are Malcom Dandridge and James Wiseman (Memphis East); Damion Baugh (Tennessee Prep); DJ Jeffries (Olive Branch); Lester Quinones Jr. (IMG Academy); Precious Achiuwa (Montverde); and Boogie Ellis (San Diego).
Returning players include Lance Thomas, who came to Memphis from the University of Louisville last season, but was denied a waiver that would have allowed him to play last season. Former University of Alabama-Birmingham star Ryan Boyce also sat out last season in a redshirt year. Then there’s Hardaway’s own son, Jaylen.
And returning rotation players for Hardaway are Alex Lomax, Tyler Harris and Isaiah Maurice.
The incoming freshman class has been rated the No. 1 recruiting class in the country by several recruiting services. The Tigers have received national acclaim on sports talk shows and national publications on how a non-traditional “blue-blood” program was able to land the best recruiting class in the country.
It has been five seasons since the Memphis Tigers have made it to the NCAA tournament. The Tigers broke their drought of missing four straight postseasons, last year by advancing to the second round of the NIT. Led by Jeremiah Martin, the Tigers lost at Creighton to end their season.
In other news, Rayjon Tucker, a graduate transfer from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, won’t be with the program at all this season. Tucker had declared for this year’s NBA Draft and did not withdraw by a Wednesday afternoon deadline, rendering him ineligible for NCAA play.