NCAA Basketball

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5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 PM GMT9:00 PM 北京时间6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST, Nov 5, 2019
FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee  Attendance: 16,002

No. 14 Memphis unveils hyped freshmen vs. S.C. State

It didn't take Penny Hardaway long to revive the Memphis basketball program.

When the former NBA All-Star starts his second year as the Tigers' coach Tuesday night with a home game against South Carolina State, he'll do so with the 14th-ranked team in the country.

Coming off a 22-14 season that included a second-round loss at Creighton in the NIT, Memphis has reloaded in a big way. Its seven-man recruiting class enters rated No. 1 in the nation, and for Tigers fans who remember the glory days of the 1980s and '90s, the sky seems to be the limit.

"We're ready to get going," Hardaway said. "We are itching to see how they are going to mesh on the floor."

One-sided exhibition wins over Christian Brothers and Lemoyne-Owen have provided a few clues, one of which suggests that freshman forward Precious Achiuwa might live up to his first name. He averaged 21.5 points and 10 boards in those games, ringing up 22 and nine in an 86-53 decision Oct. 24 over Christian Brothers.

Other freshmen such as guard Boogie Ellis, guard Lester Quinones and forward D.J. Jeffries displayed their abilities in the final exhibition agaijnst LeMoyne-Owen on Oct. 28. Ellis scored 18 points, Quinones pulled down 10 rebounds and scored nine points while Jeffries had 11 points and nine boards.

One who didn't get a chance to show off is probably the top freshman of the group. Seven-foot-1 James Wiseman, regarded as a preseason All-American in some circles, sat out with an ankle injury. Wiseman warmed up before the game but was held out by Hardaway.

One website projects Wiseman as the No. 1 pick in next year's NBA Draft.

"He makes my job a lot easier by being on the floor," Hardaway told Forbes.com. "Obviously, he's the No. 1 player in the country coming into this season and he's very dominant. James is James."

While Memphis is picked to win the American Athletic Conference, expectations are a bit more modest for South Carolina State. The Bulldogs are coming off an 8-26 season, but return nine letter-winners and added three transfers. They have been picked for a fifth-place finish in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

The marquee name on the roster is 6-8 senior forward Damani Applewhite, who averaged 16.8 points and 7.4 rebounds last year en route to third team all-conference honors. Forward Ozante Fields (8.4 ppg, 4.9 rebounds per game) and guard Jahmari Etienne (8.5 ppg) also return after being key contributors last year.

South Carolina State also plays road games this month against Atlantic Sun champ Liberty, Vanderbilt and Tulsa.

"People often ask what the benefit is of playing the schedule we play," Bulldogs coach Murray Garvin said. "My answer is always the same. I see it as a great opportunity for our players. We have worked extremely hard this offseason and look forward to the chance to compete against a nationally ranked program like Memphis."

Garvin is entering his eighth season on the job. He has led the Bulldogs to a winning record once, when they finished 19-15 in 2015-16.

--Field Level Media

Updated November 4, 2019

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