Never miss the
One of the nation’s top high school coaches in Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway is on his way to the collegiate ranks. Hardaway will leave Memphis East, where he built a perennial powerhouse and won three consecutive state championships, to join his alma mater at the University of Memphis.
Welcome the new head basketball coach of the Memphis Tigers—Penny Hardaway!! pic.twitter.com/BpfONwe15j
— Mike Ceide (@MCeide_WREG3) March 20, 2018
Hardaway is one of three former NBA players who has experienced success at the high school level in recent seasons. Mike Bibby at Phoenix Shadow Mountain and Brandon Roy at Seattle Garfield will both compete at the GEICO High School Nationals on March 29-31.
It should come as little surprise that NBA veterans like Bibby, Hardaway and Roy are all capable of attracting athletes to change school districts and even move out-of-state to play at their respective schools. What is surprising though is how quickly they have found success on the national stage.
In addition to winning state championships locally, the coaches wasted little time before having their schools competing against the nation’s top prep powerhouses. All three schools are currently ranked in the USA Today Super 25 Rankings. Memphis East is positioned at No. 4 followed by Shadow Mountain at No. 5 and Garfield at No. 11.
Brandon Roy, who coached at Nathan Hale in 2017, never lost a game and finished No. 4 in the final USA Today rankings. Roy was also tabbed as the 2017 Naismith Coach of the Year for his efforts.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 20, 2017
Hardaway at Memphis East dropped just three games in 2018 and notched high-profile wins over No. 3 Findlay Prep and No. 9 Oak Ridge.
Bibby’s Shadow Mountain fell in only one game and got the best of No. 20-ranked Sierra Canyon back in December.
Perhaps most impressively though, all three coaches have never completed a season without winning the state championship. Penny Hardaway won two state titles as an assistant and one as a head coach after three seasons at Memphis East.
Emotions were overflowing Saturday as new University of Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway won a state title with Memphis East
— MaxPreps (@MaxPreps) March 19, 2018
Garfield overcame Rainier Beach in an overtime thriller to give Brandon Roy his second title in two seasons of coaching.
— WIAA (@wiaawa) March 4, 2018
Finally, Bibby won his third consecutive state championship in three seasons at Shadow Mountain after the Matadors came back from a 22-point deficit against Salpointe Catholic.
ICYMI: Salpointe Catholic’s impressive playoff run came to an end after Phoenix powerhouse Shadow Mountain overcame a 22-point deficit to beat the Lancers in the 4A state championship. Here’s SMHS head coach Mike Bibby after the game.
— Justin Spears (@JustinESports) February 25, 2018
All that to say, Hardaway might be the first to make the jump to the collegiate game, but he certainly may not be the last.
At the conclusion of the GEICO Nationals later this month, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Brandon Roy and Mike Bibby are also in the conversation for several available head coaching gigs.