Jeff BorzelloESPN Staff WriterClose
- Basketball recruiting insider.
- Joined ESPN in 2014.
- Graduate of University of Delaware.
Tigers coach Penny Hardaway took multiple shots at Volunteers coach Rick Barnes during a news conference Tuesday, finishing it with “Rick Barnes, get the [expletive] out of here,” according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Tennessee beat Memphis on Saturday, 102-92, and there was a scuffle toward the end of the game that resulted in technical fouls for Vols guard Jordan Bone and Tigers counterpart Alex Lomax. Following the game, Hardaway said Tennessee players came over during the scuffle “with their fists balled, talking trash to our guys.” Hardaway added that Bone “said something to [Lomax] disrespectfully.”
During a radio show Monday night, Barnes jokingly said to Tennessee play-by-play voice Bob Kesling: “At any time Saturday did you ball your fist up and get ready to fight the other commentator?”
Bone, meanwhile, accused Memphis players of flopping.
“We knew they were going to come out and flop, and that’s what they did,” he said Tuesday, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Hardaway took issue with Barnes’ comments.
“If you just watch the film, I’m not making anything up,” Hardaway said at Tuesday’s news conference. “I don’t know who Rick Barnes thinks I am, but I’m not a dude that likes to just mess around about anything. I just call it like I see it. No matter how he’s trying to make things seem, and I think it’s kind of low-class how he’s trying to downgrade my guys for flopping and all that. Man, come on, give me a break.”
After a late 3-pointer, technical fouls are assessed to Memphis’ Alex Lomax, Jeremiah Martin and Tennessee’s Jordan Bone for a skirmish.
Since taking over at Memphis last spring, Hardaway already has reeled in the No. 7-rated recruiting class in the country, led by overall No. 1 prospect James Wiseman and five-star D.J. Jeffries, both local products.
He said Barnes’ comments have added to the rivalry between programs.
“I think it’s more something on the page of maybe the recruiting that we have to do in the state. Maybe he’s trying to get an upper hand on me or whatever,” Hardaway said. “I have no complaints about anything else. I just called it like I saw it and the comments that he made about my team when it came to the flopping and all that — that’s low-class. I would never do that to another team.
“He can do whatever he wants to do, but we’ll see each other out on the road somewhere or in another game.”
Tennessee is 8-1 and hosts Samford on Wednesday. Memphis is 5-5 and hosts Little Rock on Wednesday.