It’s year three of the Penny Reign at the University of Memphis. Year three was supposed to be the year where everything would come together for the Tigers. We all knew Penny’s first year wasn’t going to be easy, but Penny did an excellent job. The Tigers finished with a record of 22-14 and a second-round appearance in the NIT. Year two ( long pause), I can sum it up with one word; broken.
Penny recruited the number one class in the nation for his second year with the Tigers. The biggest prize of the class was this year’s second pick in the NBA Draft, James Wiseman. James was the centerpiece, and the other players were recruited to complement James. Thanks to the NCAA, James only played three games. Penny did an excellent job adapting to this unique situation. He turned to his other highly recruited freshman, Precious Achiuwa. Under Penny’s leadership, Precious became AAC’s Freshman and Player of the Year. Convid-19 brought this heartbreaking year to an end.
So that brings us to year three, and what the hell is going? As of today, the Tigers are 5-4. No quality wins and four bad losses. This is not a good start for an NCAA Tournament bid. The Tiger’s offense is struggling. Penny is running a pro-style offense. The problem, it’s hard to run a pro-style offense with no future pros on the roster. I don’t mean to sound harsh, there’s some talent on the roster, but they can’t make open shots. If given a good look, professional basketball players, can make free shots. That being said, Penny’s offense works, just not for this team.
I want to mention one more thing about the roster; this team was assembled to complement James Wiseman. Without Wiseman, the team doesn’t mesh well. The offense is missing a lottery pick, a guy that can get a bucket. Penny tried to put DJ Jeffries in this role, but it is not working. Jalen Green would have been a perfect fit for the offense, but he went to the G League.
Therefore, Penny has to change the offense to fit this roster. I know this is a hard decision for Penny to make because he wants to sell future recruits on the pro-style offense. Penny has to win games with the roster he has now. He will do what is best for this team. Penny is a brilliant guy; we have to trust him.