The battle for happiness has always been a struggle in the city of Memphis. The city is so used to disappointment that they seem to expect it. If there is any indication of trouble, we think the worse instead of looking at the glass half full.
The trouble stirring now in our sport’s community is our beloved Memphis Tigers Basketball program. Coach Hardaway enrolled the number three recruiting class in the nation. The expectation we’re very high in Memphis, as usual. But this year seemed different; the Tigers are coming off an NIT Championship and returning majority of the championship roster. Therefore, making it to the NCAA tournament should be easy this season.
The Tigers started the season ranked in the Top 25 and a 5-0 record. They reached as high as number nine in the coach’s poll. But then reality hit. The Tigers went on a losing streak. The team was in a hopeless situation; they needed some soul searching. Chemistry looked terrible on the floor, and it was a product of the disconnect between first-year student athletes and upper-level student athletes. The players called an only-players meeting to work on team chemistry.
The team pulled it together and grandly beat Alabama. But as the season was coming together, everything started to fall apart. Before the Tennessee game in Nashville, the Tigers had a Covid outbreak. The Tigers were forced to cancel the game.
Covid isn’t the only problem the Tigers have faced this season. Chemistry and injuries. Alex Lomax, Emoni Bates, Earl Timberlake, Jalen Duren, Landers Noley, Jaden Hardaway, and DeAndre Williams have all been on the injury list this season.
This season has been extremely tough on Coach Hardaway and his team. The local media has not helped, but added coals to the fire. Articles and comments have been negative. I know the media job is to express the truth. But there are certain ways to paint the truth. You can use a negative brush or tell the truth with a unbiased brush.
The Tigers have struggled, but there are clear reasons why this season has not lived up to early season hype. Covid and injuries have put a huge damper on sports this year and the Tigers couldn’t escape from the tragedy that we all face everyday in this new world of Covid. The injuries just added to the pain. Plus Coach Hardaway is trying to teach young players how to play the game against men.
The season is not over. There is still time and hope. So, chill Memphis. Stop preparing for the worst and look at the glass; there is still water in it.