Mark Giannotto, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee
Less than a month into his new job, Memphis men’s basketball coach Penny Hardaway is quickly turning predictions about his potential power on the recruiting trail into reality.
Hardaway pulled off a Sunday night stunner, reeling in another top 100 recruit and a former Kansas State big man to round out his initial roster with the Tigers.
Shooting guard Antwann Jones, a former Texas A&M signee, and South Plains (Texas) Junior College forward/center Isaiah Maurice each committed and signed to play at Memphis, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
Both prospects were on campus for official visits this past weekend.
Jones, a consensus four star recruit in the class of 2018, received a release from his national letter of intent at Texas A&M. He visited Memphis on Sunday and is scheduled to leave Monday.
Jones is ranked among the top 100 2018 prospects in the country by every major recruiting service. He played at Oak Ridge High School in Orlando, Fla., this past season and appeared on Nike’s EYBL circuit last offseason with E1T1.
Jones was previously a target for former Memphis coach Tubby Smith and his staff. He originally committed to Oklahoma State in September before decommitting two weeks later when an Oklahoma State assistant coach got fired in the wake of the FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball.
Jones then decided to sign with Texas A&M in November. It’s unclear at this point exactly why Jones got a release from his national letter of intent at Texas A&M.
Listed at 6-feet-6, Jones is a bigger guard who can play multiple positions on the floor and finish at the rim thanks to his college-ready frame. He’s also a capable ball-handler and shooter, and should be able to contribute to the Tigers immediately.
Maurice, listed at 6-10, also took an official visit to Memphis this past weekend. He had been committed to play at New Mexico next season.
The Durham, N.C., native averaged 12.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game and shot 48.5 percent from 3-point range at South Plains, which won this year’s NJCAA national championship. Maurice brings needed depth to the Tigers’ front court heading into next season.
Hardaway’s first recruiting class will rank among the top 30 in the country with the addition of Jones and Maurice, according to 247 Sports.