MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — At 80 years old, Larry Brown still gets butterflies on the basketball court. He loves the smell and sounds of the gym.
“My hearing aids were so loud,” said Brown. “There were all sorts of stuff going on.”
Monday was his first Tigers practice. And, while he used what he called this “fire drill,” because of how fast it was, to get acclimated with the team, learn names, and new terminology, from now on he’s ready to instill in this program all of the knowledge he has.
“I’ve coached some of the greatest players ever, I’ve sat next to some of the greatest coaches ever and I’ve played for maybe the greatest coaches ever,” Brown said. “So, I want to share everything I was taught, but I only want to share my knowledge to things that he values.”
That he, of course, is Tigers coach Penny Hardaway who said Brown has already made quite the difference in his short time here.
“He’s just a wealth of knowledge that understands the game, he’s helped me tremendously and the few days that he’s been here just talking about scenarios and how we can do certain things and how to approach,” Hardaway said. “That’s his opinions and usually they are really good and I use them. So that’s what that was for.”
As far as Brown’s role on the team, Penny said he just wants the Hall of Famer to be himself.
And, there’s no egos on this coaching staff. Penny just wants to win.
“Getting a coach, like Coach Brown on your staff puts you close to a goal, especially with the guys that we’re recruiting,” said Hardaway. “It doesn’t matter what people say – I know what I bring to the table and obviously we all know what he brings to the table.”
As cliché as it sounds, the sky really is the limit for this Tigers program and Brown made that clear at his press conference Monday.
“To me because of Penny, because of the past history of this program, this is as good a job there is,” Brown said. “You have this facility, you have a city that loves basketball , you have a pro franchise right here. I told Penny this can be like Georgetown like Gonzaga. We’re not in a Power 5, but this can be anything that we want it to be.”
Coach Brown hopes this is his last press conference, but he wouldn’t trade this situation for the world.