Memphis Men's basketball coach Anfernee 'Penny' Hardaway expressed his frustration with "stupid" questions about his team's recent struggles after the Tigers' third consecutive loss on Thursday (January 20) night.
SMU defeated Memphis, 70-62, at FedEx Forum with the Tigers falling to 9-8 overall and seventh in the American Athletic Conference, while dealing with numerous injuries.
During his postgame press conference, Hardaway told media members to "stop asking me stupid f*****g questions" after one reporter asked if he had lost faith he could get the job done and whether he was embarrassed by the team's recent performance during its losing streak.
"I think the one thing I can say to this media because this media gets kinda f---ed up sometimes when it comes to me. We don't have our full roster. Y'all know we don't have our full roster. Stop asking me stupid f---ing questions about if I feel like I can do something," Hardaway said in a video shared by WMC Action News 5 sports anchor Cassie Carlson on Twitter.
"If I had my roster like they did, then I feel like I can do whatever I want to do. I'm coaching really hard, my boys are playing really hard, I'm not embarrassed about nothing. We have four freshmen starting, y'all need to act like it. Act like we got 17- and 18- and 19-year-olds out here trying to learn how to play against 22-, 23- and 24-year-old guys. Come on, man. Stop disrespecting me, bro. Like, don't do that. I work too f---ing hard. I work way too hard for that. Y'all write all these bulls--- articles about me and all I do is work. We got young kids on the floor. They got young kids on the floor."
Memphis opened the 2021-22 season ranked No. 12 overall in the Associated Press poll, but has since lost eight of its last 12 games following a 5-0 start, which includes a 3-4 record in conference play.
The Tigers returned three starters from the previous season, added two transfer players and signed top-five recruits Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren as part of its then-incoming freshman class.
But Duren has struggled early and the team has dealt with numerous COVID and injury issues during recent weeks, which included DeAndre Williams missing his fourth consecutive games on Thursday, as well as Landers Nolley being ruled inactive for the last two games.
"It is what it is, man. I don't like to get out of character. We're hurt, man," Hardaway said. "Our roster is depleted right now of guys that can definitely make a difference and help the young guys get through this. Right now they're having to learn on the fly. It's hard."
Memphis began the 2020-21 season with a 6-5 record, but won nine of its last 10 games to make a late push for the NCAA tournament, but eventually fell short and won the NIT title.
Hardaway, a four-time NBA All-Star and Memphis native, returned to his alma mater in 2018 and has a 72-40 (35-23 AAC) coaching record during four seasons.
The NBA legend had previously coached at East High School in Memphis initially as an assistant from 2015-17 and later head coach from 2017-18.