Memphis Basketball: Penny Hardaway’s Comments on the Possibility of Malcolm Dandridge’s Comeback

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MEMPHIS, TN – JANUARY 4: Penny Hardaway, head coach of the Memphis Tigers looks on from the sideline against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane during a game on January 4, 2022 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis defeated Tulsa 67-64. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

LA ROMANA, Dominican Republic — Penny Hardaway’s remarks on Friday concerning Malcolm Dandridge might have been even more revealing than the content itself.

Following the Memphis basketball team’s hard-fought victory over a determined group of Dominican Republic players, prevailing in overtime with a score of 105-98 during the second of their three preseason exhibition games, the topic of the Tigers’ current roster situation arose once more. Notably, the Tigers are navigating these games with a reduced lineup.

Amidst this context, Malcolm Dandridge’s name surfaced again. Dandridge, who spent four years at Memphis before entering the transfer portal almost three months ago, remains a potential option. Depending on the unfolding events and decisions, the Tigers might find themselves in need of a 6-foot-9 big man who is deeply familiar with the program.

Consequently, on Friday, the inquiry was posed: What is the current status with Malcolm Dandridge?

“That still stands good,” asserted Hardaway with conviction, his head nodding in affirmation, while maintaining direct eye contact with the assembled reporters.

“I mean, I told Malcolm, you know, that it was never out of the question. So, you know, we’ll talk when we get back.”

For this trip, Hardaway brought along 10 scholarship players (out of a possible 13 allowed by the NCAA). Notably, two players, Caleb Mills and Jayhlon Young, did not participate on Friday. Hardaway explained that Mills was sidelined due to a minor injury, while Young recently joined the team and only officially became a part of the roster on Tuesday during the layover in Houston en route to the Dominican Republic.

While the journey to assemble a complete roster has taken some time, the path ahead is becoming clearer. David Jones, a transfer from St. John’s who committed to Memphis in May, has indicated that he will join the team once he completes certain academic obligations and obtains his student visa. The Tigers are also optimistic that all-conference forward DeAndre Williams will be granted an additional year of eligibility by the NCAA. Furthermore, Mikey Williams, despite his legal troubles, might still become a team member. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for September 5.

Since entering the transfer portal, Dandridge has explored options, including a visit to Saint Louis, while Michigan and West Virginia have also expressed interest. However, Dandridge has yet to make any definitive statements about his future plans.

Throughout his college career, Dandridge has faced injury challenges. In the previous season, he managed to achieve career-best statistics in points per game (5.7) and rebounds per game (3.6) despite playing in just 20 games.

The conclusion of the team’s tour will come with a match against the Dominican Republic select team at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

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