Rick Barnes’Big regreat Vols shouldn’t have fired him;..

 Rick Barnes’Big regreat Vols shouldn’t have fired him;..

If Penny Hardaway has one regret, it’s that he responded to Rick Barnes and made a bad situation worse back in 2018. That’s what the Memphis head coach told Jason Munz of the Commercial Appeal.

“At the time, people overplayed it,” Hardaway said during his exclusive interview with Munz and The Commercial Appeal. “(But) that’s the only thing I feel like I should not have done.”

Tennessee basketball beat Memphis 102-92 in a heated game in front of a sold-out crowd at FedEx Forum in Memphis in December 2019. At one point, players from the two teams had to be separated and technicals were issued.

After the game, Hardaway accused the Vols and point guard Jordan Bone specifically for inciting the altercation in front of the Memphis bench.

Hardaway said Tennessee players had their “fists balled” and said “it was almost like a standoff”. The technicals were issued, one to Bone and two to Memphis players Alex Lomax and Jeremiah Martin, in the final minute of the game.

“I said (to the official) that the entire Tennessee team ran over to fight,” Hardaway said during his postgame press conference in 2019. “You know, their entire team emptied the bench to run over. They weren’t coming over because it was a timeout. You could visibly see guys with their fists balled, talking trash to our guys or whatever.”

‘It definitely got blown out of proportion and rubbed a lot of people the wrong way’

Two days later, on Vol Calls on The Vol Network, the weekly radio show for Tennessee coaches, Barnes joked with Bob Kesling about the balled fist comments and accused Memphis players of flopping.

“It was a very difficult game to call,” Barnes said at the time, “when guys are trying to pick up fouls and every time there’s contact jumping back and this and that.”

Hardaway went even further in his next press conference, reacting to the comments from Barnes.

Clemson basketball coach Brad Brownell has spoken to the ACC about the officiating in Saturdays heartbreaking loss at Duke and says, while he doesn’t expect any punishment from the league, he also stands by his postgame statements.

A series of questionable calls marred the ending of the 72-71 Blue Devil victory. The Blue Devils, down by one, had the ball with 7.4 seconds to play when Tyrese Proctor drove down the court and drew a foul call. He hit both free throws to give Duke a one-point lead with one second to play. Clemson’s Joe Girard threw a full-court pass to Clemson star PJ Hall, who appeared to collide with Duke’s Mark Mitchell before he fumbled the ball, which sealed the win for the Blue Devils.

Girard had to be restrained from going after the officials, and Brownell said in his postgame comments that the game “was taken from us.”

Brownell told TigerNet Monday that he has spoken with the league and that he doesn’t expect punishment for his comments.

“I don’t think so. I’ve had conversations with the supervisor of officials and sent in calls, and we discussed them. It’s part of the process,” Brownell said. “It’s not easy to officiate these games. And it’s not easy to coach them. We all have a hard job, and we are all competitive people. Emotion gets the best of us sometimes.”

He said he still stands by his postgame comments.


“I don’t regret saying something of the things I said. I do think there were mistakes made and that’s OK. That’s going to happen,” Brownell said. “We made plenty of mistakes ourselves. I don’t really want to get into it any deeper than that. I need to get onto Louisville, and my team needs to get onto Louisville.”

Clemson hosts Louisville on Tuesday night at 9 pm.

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