It’s that time of year again when college football and basketball overlap, and here in the 901, basketball brings a sense of normalcy and excitement. Sunday marked the official start of the 2022-2023 Memphis Basketball season. It was a preseason game, but the Tigers didn’t look all that great on Sunday, but Penny Hardaway and his staff didn’t seem too worried, but obviously, there are observations to be made from the first of two preseason games.
First, Memphis is without the shooting depth the Tigers enjoyed in the NCAA Tournament; the obvious is there. Memphis is missing Lester and Tyler Harris, who sparked the tide for the Tigers last season. Yet, there’s positive from the first preseason game against CBU, Kendric Davis. Davis came to Memphis via the transfer portal from SMU. Davis added an extra layer of protection for the Tigers as he led the way in scoring with 22 points. Tiger Nation will enjoy watching this young man play this season, as the talent he possesses is the talent that only God himself can provide an athlete.
Second, Memphis fans can expect a lot of time out of Malcolm Dandridge and DeAndre Williams. Williams had twelve points, while Dandridge had six. Combined, the two had thirteen rebounds and provided the difference maker for the Tigers in the frontcourt.
As far as the negative goes, Memphis looked unprepared for live game action. Memphis went 2-19 from behind the three-point line, struggled to rebound against a vastly outmanned CBU team, and struggled at the free-throw line. In his postgame comments with Voice of the Memphis Tigers, Dave Woloshin, Head Coach Penny Hardaway touched on all the subjects and offered his vantage point. Penny mentioned the Tigers not running a lot of sets in the game with CBU but prepared Memphis fans to see a lot more organized basketball next Sunday as getting ready for their final tuneup against Lane College before traveling to Nashville, Tennessee; to take on Vanderbilt on November the 7th.
From my perspective, Sunday’s performance against Christian Brothers was less than ideal. Memphis struggled to put away a Division Two program that will likely finish at the bottom of the Gulf South Conference. Memphis failed to impress and has a lot to work on if the Tigers want another successful season that ends in playing in the NCAA Tournament. Without the talent gap and the play of Kendric Davis, the Tigers would have likely suffered a loss on Sunday.
Overall, a win is a win. Memphis will be fine; the Tigers have talent and the potential to be a serious threat this season. It won’t be pretty at first because of how many fresh faces the Tigers have on the roster. When it matters, Coach Penny Hardaway will have the Memphis Basketball program in a prime position to have another breakout season that Tiger Nation will be proud to call its own. It won’t be easy at first but trust the process because the 2022-2023 Memphis Basketball program has the pieces to replicate the late-season success we saw last year.