One of the nation’s top high school coaches in Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway is on his way to the collegiate ranks. Hardaway will leave East High School (Memphis), where he built a perennial powerhouse and won three consecutive state championships, to join his alma mater at the University of Memphis.
Hardaway is one of several former NBA players to have seen success at the high school level in recent seasons. Mike Bibby at Shadow Mountain (Phoenix) and Brandon Roy at Garfield (Seattle) will both compete at the GEICO High School Nationals on March 29-31.
It should come as little surprise that NBA veterans like Bibby, Hardaway and Roy are all capable of attracting athletes to change school districts and even move from out-of-state to play at their respective schools. What is surprising, though, is how quickly they have found success on the national stage.
In addition to winning state championships locally, the coaches wasted little time before having their schools competing against the nation’s top prep powerhouses. All three schools are currently ranked in the USA Today Super 25 Rankings. Memphis East is positioned at No. 4, followed by Shadow Mountain at No. 5, and Garfield at No. 11.
Roy, who coached at Nathan Hale in 2017, never lost a game and finished No. 4 in the final USA Today rankings. Roy was also tabbed as the 2017 Naismith Coach of Year for his efforts.
Hardaway at Memphis East dropped just three games in 2018, and notched high-profile wins over No. 3 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) and No. 9 Oak Ridge (Orlando).
Bibby’s Shadow Mountain fell in only one game and got the best of No. 20 ranked Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) back in December.
Perhaps most impressively though, all three coaches have never completed a season without winning the state championship. Hardaway won two state titles as an assistant and one as a head coach after three seasons at Memphis East.
Garfield overcame Rainier Beach (Seattle) in an overtime thriller to give Roy his second title in two seasons of coaching.
Finally, Bibby won his third consecutive state championship in three seasons at Shadow Mountain after the Matadors came back from a 22-point deficit against Salpointe Catholic (Tucson).
All that to say, Hardaway might be the first to make the jump to the collegiate game, but he certainly may not be the last.
At the conclusion of the GEICO Nationals later this month, don’t be surprised to hear that Roy and Bibby are also in the conversation for several available head coaching gigs.