May 21, 2024

Memphis Tigers: Poised to Roar Again 

Photo Credits - Damen Jones / 4SSM
Photo Credits – Damen Jones / 4SSM

 Memphis Tigers: Poised to Roar Again 

The American Athletic Conference (AAC) has cast its preseason predictions, with the reigning conference champions, the Memphis Tigers, slated to finish second in the 2023-24 conference race. This news was announced during the conference’s Media Day in Dallas on Monday.

Photo Credits – Damon Jones / 4SSM

The top spot in the poll was claimed by the league newcomer, Florida Atlantic, who bagged 11 first-place votes, finishing with a total of 167 points. Conversely, Memphis collected three first-place votes, finishing with a close total of 159 points.

Despite missing out on the top spot in the preseason poll, the Tigers have reason for optimism. Four of their players were recognized with preseason honors, a testament to their individual prowess and potential collective power on the court. Jahvon Quinerly and Jordan Brown managed to land spots on the first and second all-conference teams, respectively, while freshman Carl Cherenfant and JJ Taylor were named Co-Rookies of the Year.

Quinerly, a seasoned player with over 1,100 points under his belt, won two SEC regular season championships and two SEC tournament titles during his tenure at Alabama. Last season, he averaged 8.7 points, 1.9 rebounds, and a team-high 3.6 assists per game for the Crimson Tide. Now, as a Tiger, he is expected to bring his championship-winning experience to the table.

Meanwhile, Brown, the reigning Lou Henson Award winner, brings considerable firepower to the team. Last season, he averaged an impressive 19.3 points and 8.6 rebounds and secured 10 double-doubles for Louisiana, earning him the first-team all-conference and the Sun Belt Tournament MVP titles. 

Cherenfant and Taylor, the freshly minted Co-Rookies of the Year, are expected to carve out their roles in what is being considered the deepest team that head coach Penny Hardaway has had in his six years at the helm. During the team’s early August games in the Dominican Republic, Cherenfant averaged 9.3 points over three games, while Taylor showcased his scoring potential by dropping 22 points in the final game of the tour.

Looking at the women’s side, the Tigers have been picked to finish fifth this season. Last season’s AAC Championship winners, South Florida and East Carolina, took the top two spots, respectively. For first-year head coach Alex Simmons, she will look to her veterans to lead the Tigers. One of these veterans will be a name familiar around the city.  Fifth-year senior Madison Griggs, from Memphis, Tenn., has been named to the AAC’s Preseason All-Conference First Team following her stellar performance last season.

With the 2023-24 season on the horizon, the Memphis Tigers, both men’s and women’s teams, will be looking to defy the odds and prove their mettle. As the preseason unfolds, the Tigers will undoubtedly be a team to watch in the AAC.

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