MEMPHIS — Memphis basketball coach Penny Hardaway had strong words for Tennessee's Rick Barneson Tuesday as he discussed the Tigers' 102-92 loss to the Vols on Saturday.
The coaches have expressed different views about a scuffle near the end of Saturday's game, when two Memphis players and one Tennessee player were hit with technicals. After the game, Hardaway claimed that Vols players "ran over to fight," sparking the incident. Hardaway also claimed that Vols guard Jordan Bone had spoken "disrespectfully" to Memphis' Alex Lomax. Barnes took issue with Hardaway's comments, telling reporters Tuesday, "Well, I didn't like that."
That didn't go over well with Hardaway when he met with reporters Tuesday afternoon. After Hardaway's interview ended, he added, "Rick Barnes, get the (expletive) out of here."
Here are highlights of what Hardaway had to say about Barnes and the Vols on Tuesday.
Do you regret what you said about the scuffle at the end?
“No, come on man; honestly, if you just watch the film, I’m not making anything up. We even had it on the phone. I don’t know who Rick Barnes thinks I am, but I’m not a dude that’s going to 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.
“As a coach, you’re going to try to teach charges, you’re going to try to teach to be smart. We were smaller. They played a physical game, and we knew that and the calls just didn’t go our way. As far as flopping, that’s not something that we teach. We don’t even understand that term, but he seems to be focusing on the wrong thing, man. He’s blessed to have the No. 3 team in the country and he should be happy with that. And we will see each other again, for sure.”
You don’t talk in coach speak. Why is that?
“I don’t have to when a coach disrespects my team. I’m going to stay respectful as long as I have to, but Rick Barnes is doing a little bit too much. He really is.”
Does this add to the rivalry?
“Oh, absolutely it does. I think it’s more something that on the page or maybe the recruiting that we have to do in the state. Maybe he wants to get the upper hand on me or whatever. … 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 comes to the flopping and all that: That’s low class. I would never do that to another team."
Do you feel comfortable recruiting against Rick Barnes in this city?
“No doubt about it."
Did you have a relationship with him before?
“No. Never had one. Don’t need one. He’s good. He’s a legendary coach in this game.”
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