20 wins and the season is seen as a complete disaster. That’s why outsiders don’t get the prestige put on Tiger basketball by the city.
 
But this is far from the disaster known as the Tic Price era. 13-15 with Omar Sneed, Marcus Moody, Snap Hunter, Kelly Wise, Jermaine Ousley, Keiron Shine, Paris London, Shyrone Chatman, and others. And let’s not forget, Tic was run out of town because he was involved in a love triangle with two students, one being his star player. That’s bad character, and bad coaching.
 
As far as attendance, no doubt that has to change. But let me say this in defense of Tubby Smith (and Josh Pasnter, since this slide started under him and would be this low if he were still the Tigers head coach)…there was no Memphis Grizzlies when Tic Price was head coach. There was no FedEx Forum ticket prices when Tic was head coach. When you go the Forum now, you’re paying $20 off the top just to park. But the bigger issue is, there is another game in town to spend your money on. A game that puts the world’s elites like LeBron, KD, and Russ in front of you. No other high end, elite, blue blood type of program deals with that.
 
If this is the end for Tubby, I appreciate what he has done. He took 11 guys that never played Division-I basketball before, and turned them into a 20 win team. You can never question his coaching ability or his character. He just didn’t recruit. And after about six seasons of recruiting steadily falling off, and players transferring, we can’t afford that anymore.
 
In a perfect world, my solution would be to hire Penny Hardaway as an assistant under Tubby. At least for one year. Tubby needs the recruits Penny can bring in, and Penny needs to learn how to coach a major Division-I program, from a Hall-of-Fame coach. Just not sure the two egos could come to an agreement that would allow that. 
 
While I’m not going to be as hard on Tubby as the rest of the city, I do realize that we have run out of time to bring Penny to the University of Memphis. There is no one else that will bring the Tigers back to the graces of the entire city, instantly. And there is no one else that can connect the program back to the city with homegrown players, instantly.
Hiring Penny was probably the move that should have been made when Tubby was brought in. But now the city is painting the university into a corner by not attending games. In a capitalistic world, money talks, and the University of Memphis is losing. Maybe not in regard to wins and losses on the floor, but definitely financially. Hiring Penny will be an almost guarantee to remedy that issue, instantly.
In a city where 40 wins in two years is seen as a disaster, let’s hope the university gets it right this time. The last thing we can afford is another Memphis kid to get away.

Brandon Reid covers the University of Memphis for MyFantasySportsTalk.com | Follow him on Twitter @New_Breid

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