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Penny Hardaway emerges as serious candidate for Orlando Magic

This could be massive in the recruitment of Jalen Duren.

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Orlando Magic v Washington Bullets Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Some big college basketball news could have the Kentucky Wildcats in great position on the recruiting trail with their top target.

Shams Charania of The Athletic has reported that Memphis Tigers head coach Penny Hardaway has interviewed for the Orlando Magic coaching job and has emerged as a serious candidate.

Fellow NBA reporter Keith Smith adds that Hardaway has been Orlando’s “dream candidate.

You may remember Hardaway’s days as a star player for the Magic from 1993-99. During that span, he made four All-Star games and was a two-time First-Team All-NBA selection.

In 369 regular season games with the Magic, Hardaway averaged 19.0 points, 6.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.9 steals per game. It appears Orlando is looking to bring back some of that magic, pun intended, to revitalize what’s been a dormant franchise for quite sometime now.

This is exciting news for Kentucky, as both Memphis and Kentucky have been viewed as the top college options in the recruitment of Jalen Duren.

Duren is currently ranked as the No. 1 overall plyer in the 2022 class, but he is rumored to be reclassifying to the 2021 class.

The 6-foot-10 center currently has an offer worth at least $1 million to skip college and go to the G-League, but with the new NIL rules taking effect July 1st, many believe college is a serious option.

Duren just finished up an official visit to Memphis this past week and is scheduled to be in Lexington for a visit this week beginning Monday.

Now with Hardaway potentially on his way to the NBA, this could put Kentucky in the driver’s seat in this recruitment should Duren decide to go to college instead of the G-League.

Of course, no deal is done, and if Hardaway returns to Memphis, he could try to use this as a way to say he passed on the NBA to coach Duren.