What Penny Hardaway said about son Ashton Hardaway's transfer, NIL and NBA coaching dream

Memphis basketball coach Penny Hardaway supports his son's decision to leave after one season with the Tigers.

During an appearance on “Point Forward” – a podcast co-hosted by former NBA players Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner – Penny Hardaway also discussed a host of topics, ranging from his playing career to his thoughts on NIL.

Ashton Hardaway transferred to Saint Mary's partially because the fit was never quite right at Memphis.

“I don’t think he was ever comfortable here, because we kind of forced it,” Penny Hardaway admits. “And I felt kind of guilty for that, because it’s probably not really where he wanted to come. I think he wanted to make me proud to come here. (But) he’s trying to create his own path, and I definitely support that.”

Ashton Hardaway, a 6-foot-8 wing, averaged 2.8 points per game as a true freshman in 2023-24. While he appeared in 30 games, his playing time was limited to 8.3 minutes per game.

The transfer to Saint Mary’s in Moraga, California, gets Ashton Hardaway closer to more familiar surroundings. He finished his high school career at Sierra Canyon in Los Angeles.

“I think Saint Mary’s is a wonderful choice for him, because that’s more his style, his flow,” Penny Hardaway said. “He’s definitely, to me, is a pro. I see everything in him that he needs. He just has to continue to get the minutes, continue to get the work, and he’ll be blessed enough to have that opportunity.”

Penny Hardaway on NIL: ‘You’re making more than my assistant coaches’

College athletics has undergone a revolution in recent years thanks to NIL and relaxed transfer rules. Hardaway, who was hired by his alma mater in 2018, has adapted as well as any coach.

Turner asked Hardaway if the job is still “fun” under the circumstances.

“Man, I don’t know about saying ‘fun,’ “ Hardaway said, smiling. “Obviously, happy the guys are getting their name, image and likeness, you know, getting paid for that. But this thing has turned upside-down, to be very honest.

“It’s challenging, no lie.”

A big part of the challenge for schools are the players’ increasing asking prices, according to Hardaway. He said negotiations usually start reasonably.

“But the later it gets and you’ve got to have them, that might jump up $200,000 or $300,000,” Hardaway continued. “You start thinking, ‘Hey, man, you’re not Evan Turner or Andre Iguodala – I don’t know about that, bro!’ To me, there was already an expectation. Now, it’s an even higher expectation. When I start paying you that much money, you’re making more than my assistant coaches.”

Penny Hardaway on NBA coaching dream

Hardaway has made it known that he hopes to be an NBA coach one day.

In June 2021, the four-time all-star interviewed for the Orlando Magic job and was reportedly a “serious candidate.” The subject came up during his podcast appearance with Turner and Iguodala.

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“It’s actually a dream of mine to coach on the NBA level,” said Hardaway, who is 129-62 with two NCAA Tournament appearances and an NIT championship in six seasons at Memphis. “I think about it daily. I know I’ll have to pay my dues and come in at whatever level, which is fine.

“(But) my goal is to coach in the league one day. I don’t know when – it could be five years from now, 10 years from now. It could be earlier than that. But I definitely want to do it.”

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This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Penny Hardaway on son's transfer, NIL and NBA coaching dream