Tigers Talk: Upadhyaya, Martin on Memphis’ quest to complete roster, Caleb Mills’ pursuit of waiver

By  and , Daily Memphian Updated: June 30, 2024 12:51 PM CT | Published: June 30, 2024 12:48 PM CT

Welcome to this edition of Tigers Talk with The Daily Memphian’s Tigers basketball beat writer Parth Upadhyaya and college sports columnist John Martin.

Periodically throughout Memphis’ offseason and into the season, Upadhyaya and Martin will answer the most pressing questions surrounding the Tigers’ upcoming matchups, season-long storylines and more.

1. When David Jones decided to not return to Memphis and instead remain in the NBA Draft on May 29, reporting from The Daily Memphian and other outlets suggested the Tigers would have a replacement for last season’s leading scorer and rebounder through the door in short order. Well, it’s been a month since then — and Penny Hardaway and his staff still haven’t made any additions to their roster.

What’s happened over the past several weeks that’s resulted in the Tigers still being without another needle-moving piece? What options are still out there?

Martin: What’s next for the Memphis basketball roster?

John Martin: Penny Hardaway was consistent throughout the draft process that he expected a David Jones return. When that didn’t materialize, I think it just forced Memphis into scramble mode — and did so extremely late into the recruiting cycle. In terms of similarly talented players who were available, Hardaway’s options were scarce.

The only players worth pursuing to replace Jones who wouldn’t need waiver help were the draft entrants who entered the portal and then came back to college. Memphis never really got close with any of them. The thought was that Arthur Kaluma would be the guy, but his asking price was high and it’s fair to question if his production last season came close to justifying it.

The Tigers clearly did not think so. I can’t say I blame them. A high-usage, inefficient player whose team didn’t make the tournament last season? That’s probably a good pass.



Memphis Tigers Basketball Penny Hardaway Caleb Mills Tyrese Hunter Ed Scott Tigers Talk Subscriber Only

Thank you for supporting local journalism.

Subscribers to The Daily Memphian help fund our not-for-profit newsroom of nearly 40 local journalists plus more than 20 freelancers, all of whom work around the clock to cover the issues impacting our community. Subscriptions - and donations - also help fund our community access programs which provide free access to K-12 schools, community organizations, and more. Thank you for making our work possible.

Parth Upadhyaya

Parth Upadhyaya

Parth Upadhyaya covers the Memphis Tigers men’s basketball team. A Raleigh, N.C., native and a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Hussman School of Media and Journalism, Upadhyaya is a longtime college hoops junkie. Prior to joining The Daily Memphian in 2022, he covered high school sports in western Pennsylvania for the Beaver County Times and Penn State football for the Centre Daily Times.

John Martin

John Martin

John Martin is a contributing college sports columnist for The Daily Memphian. Martin is a lifelong Memphian who’s covered the Memphis Tigers’ basketball program for more than a decade. Before joining The Daily Memphian team, he was the Memphis beat writer for The Athletic. Currently, he is the co-host of the Jason and John Show on 92.9 FM ESPN, weekdays at 11 a.m. Martin is a graduate of White Station High School and the University of Memphis.


Want to comment on our stories or respond to others? Join the conversation by subscribing now. Only paid subscribers can add their thoughts or upvote/downvote comments. Our commenting policy can be viewed here