MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — The Laurie-Walton Family Basketball Center was definitely the most magical place on earth Wednesday for Tigers pro day.
“When you come to the University of Memphis, you’re going to get this opportunity to be seen in front of scouts, before the season starts,” said Tigers coach Penny Hardaway. “This is like Disney World for these kids today.”
“Just to be able to see my grown since the last time you see me, and just tell them how much, how much I’ve been working,” Tigers center Jalen Duren said after pro day. “I’m not nervous I mean it’s just another day in practice, but I was excited for them to see me.”
While there were dozens of NBA scouts in town to see the Tigers, the biggest thing for this coaching staff was to see how much this team has gelled in such a short period of time.
“This is a special team one through 18 Because we got 18 guys, it’s crazy, special team,” said Tigers veteran guard Alex Lomax. “I just feel like we’re going to gel, we’re getting better every day. So, I’m just going to be very excited, because one thing everybody putting their egos at the door.”
“They’re making the right plays, but it’s just they don’t know each other well enough yet,” said Penny. “There’s been a lot of guys out, now guys are starting to get back in. So, you know, we’re starting to look a lot better the chemistry is actually getting better.”
And, it was the leadership and skill from the freshmen that really stood out to Penny.
“You know you expect Emoni to come and Jalen to come in, but Josh, Sam, and John those guys, Johnathan, those guys are playing and competing on a daily basis,” Penny said. “Our freshmen are really really really good. So that’s probably kind of surprised me the most. I knew they were going to compete, but they’re being kind of dominant as young guys and battling the older guys.”
“Now really we’re the underdogs,” said Tigers forward Emoni Bates. “Nobody really think we that good right now, so it’s like we’re working every day to show like we belong. So, that’s really our goal is just to show that we belong.”
The media and NBA scouts have seen that this Tigers team belongs, now it’s time for the fans next Wednesday at Memphis Madness.