Why Penny Hardaway, Memphis basketball stand out to 4-star Kiyan Anthony, Carmelo Anthony's son

Trailing by two points with under 5 seconds left Saturday at the Memphis Sports and Events Center, Carmelo Anthony stepped into the huddle and drew up a play.

The NBA legend's Nike-sponsored Team Melo (U16) came up empty in its final possession and lost to Mokan Elite at Session 4 of the EYBL season in Memphis. But Kiyan Anthony, the future Hall of Famer's son, found solace in his famous, recently retired father's presence.

The elder Anthony − who is not officially a coach for the team − spent the entire game standing in one corner of the court, just off the end of Team Melo's bench. Carmelo Anthony was active throughout, shouting instructions, applauding positive moments and expressing disappointment when things weren't going well.

All of which was plenty fine by his son.

“He’s been thinking about this for a while,” said Kiyan Anthony, who finished with 17 points, buoyed by four made 3-pointers. “Him finally retiring and being able to come support me, it’s a great feeling.”

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Anthony is a 4-star prospect and ranked No. 62 by the 247Sports Composite in the Class of 2025. The 6-5 shooting guard played sparingly as a sophomore at Christ The King (N.Y.) and, in February, transferred to Long Island Lutheran.

Anthony's low profile in high school has not stopped college recruiters' pursuit of the athletic guard, even if no college coaches are allowed to be present for this weekend's games in Memphis, per NCAA rules. One such recruiter is Memphis coach Penny Hardaway. Anthony said Hardaway made the Tigers one of the first programs to extend a scholarship offer, and it came almost two years ago.

“He was trying to get to me before everybody else, which is a great feeling,” Kiyan Anthony said. “Him looking out for me like that, I always see Penny around and he always shows love. He’s a great guy.”

NCAA rules stipulate Hardaway, and any other college coach who wants to contact Kiyan Anthony, must wait until June 15 to do so. The rising junior fully expects Hardaway will be among the first to reach out.

“I’m sure he’ll reach out to me and probably try to set up a visit or something,” said Kiyan Anthony. “But I’m keeping all my options open, just waiting to see what happens.”

Other schools who have offered include Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Bryant, Manhattan, Providence, Seton Hall, UMass, George Mason and Syracuse (his father's alma mater). But Memphis is a bit more unique than others in a way that is very familiar to him.

“I feel like when you played in the NBA, you’ve got a different understanding for the game,” Kiyan Anthony said. “So, when you coach, you see the game differently than people who haven’t played in the NBA. They can really break down the game. They know what subs to make. They know what works, what doesn’t work, what defense to play.”

Reach sports writer Jason Munz at or on Twitter @munzly.

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Kiyan Anthony: Memphis basketball stands out to Carmelo Anthony's son