Once again, the NCAA has continued to be a thorn in the side of the University of Memphis Tigers. This time, however, not because of violations. Prior to the start of Tuesday’s game, Coach Penny Hardaway announced that Florida transfer Isaiah Stokes’ wavier for immediate eligibility to play for the Tigers was denied. Once again, the Memphis Tigers will appeal. However, they are at the mercy of the NCAA. The same NCAA who hasn’t been too kind to the Tigers this season. Since the start, the Tigers have dealt with the wrath of the NCAA with James Wiseman’s twelve game suspension.
The situation with Isaiah Stokes favors last season’s situation with Louisville transfer, Lance Thomas. Although he can practice with the team, the Tigers will continue to play without Stokes, potentially for the remainder of the season. Following Tuesday’s win, Coach Hardaway stated that he was “very disappointed” by the decision of the NCAA, but “expected it [the decision]”.
Man Down Against Tennessee
Being the most recent NCAA encounter, this leaves the Tigers down another man against in-state rival, Tennessee. The Tigers take on the Vols December 14th in Knoxville. Despite the Tiger’s improvement of talent since last year’s game, they are up for a massive road challenge. As of now, the Tigers will be lacking James Wiseman (suspension until January 12), Lester Quinones (broken hand, 4-6 weeks) and now Isaiah Stokes. Although there is a plan in place for an appeal for Stokes, the likelihood of the Tigers having an answer form the NCAA before December 14th is slim.
After Tuesday’s sloppy win, there are more concerns about the team’s capability without the missing pieces.
“We gotta toughen up,” said Alex Lomax after his career-high game, “this was a bad game for us”.
The Tigers have one more road test before taking on the “big brothers” of Rocky Top. The Tigers take on long-time rivals, the UAB Blazers Saturday in Birmingham. Despite the disappointing news, They have one more chance to clean up mistakes before the most anticipated non-conference game of the year.
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