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Tigers Basketball Insider: A potential assistant coach candidate emerging?
Former Whitehaven High School coach Faragi Phillips reacts to a foul call during a state semifinal game in 2019. (Jim Weber/Daily Memphian file)

Former Whitehaven High School coach Faragi Phillips reacts to a foul call during a state semifinal game in 2019. (Jim Weber/Daily Memphian file)

Welcome to this week’s Tigers Basketball Insider. Below you’ll find the latest news and analysis from The Daily Memphian’s Steven Johnson, John Martin and Geoff Calkins.

We already took a look at who Memphis could potentially add next with UTEP transfer Keonte’ Kennedy decommitting from Vanderbilt over the weekend.

Kennedy might not be the only person with Vanderbilt ties who could end up at Memphis, however. 


After speaking with various sources, one name that’s generating smoke for one of coach Penny Hardaway’s assistant coach openings is Faragi Phillips.

Phillips spent two seasons as an assistant coach for Jerry Stackhouse but was moved to director of player personnel in 2021.

The move makes sense if Phillips wants to be back on the bench. Of course, Hardaway and Phillips are very familiar with each other.

Phillips led Memphis’ Mitchell High School to four straight state tournament appearances including back-to-back state championships in 2014 and 2015.

He had similar success in four years at Whitehaven High, leading the Tigers to two state tournament appearances and a runner-up finish in 2018. Whitehaven fell 72-50 to Hardaway in his final game as East High’s head coach.


In 2016-17, Phillips also helped coach Team Penny including current Tiger Alex Lomax.

If Phillips indeed gets the nod, it would continue the trend of Hardaway tabbing former adversaries to join him this offseason.

The Tigers’ three biggest additions were all players or a coach that Hardaway has battled with in the past. Former Tulsa head coach Frank Haith and SMU’s Kendric Davis gave him the most trouble in the AAC.

Memphis also faced Emmanuel Akot in back-to-back years, winning both games. And no high school coach pushed Hardaway locally like Phillips did.

Keep an eye on Phillips moving forward as Hardaway inches closer to filling out his staff.

More from your Insider:

Here’s what might be next for Memphis Tigers basketball

Penny Hardaway’s new-look roster has a number of lineup options, but still could use a couple of pieces.

Emmanuel Akot commits to Memphis

The transfer from Boise State gives the Tigers another shooter and a secondary ballhandler.

What is Memphis getting in Akot? A Boise State writer shares insight

“He clearly thinks Penny Hardaway can transform him into an NBA player,” said an Idaho Press writer who’s familiar with the Tigers’ latest commitment, including his strengths and ability to shoot.

Tigers among final three for key transfer target

One of the Memphis Tigers’ key transfer targets appears to be approaching a decision.

Memphis basketball scheduled to play in 2023 Battle 4 Atlantis

The Tigers will be facing blue bloods and rising programs, including UNC and Arkansas.


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