Memphis basketball coach Penny Hardaway is going back to the NBA well once again.
Wallace, Brown and former Phoenix Suns assistant Cody Toppert will make up Hardaway’s assistant coaching staff.
One of Hardaway’s priorities since being named coach at Memphis in 2018 has been fostering an environment that mimics that of the NBA and prepares his players for the next level. Former assistants include two-time NBA champion Mike Miller and 2007 NBA Coach of the Year Sam Mitchell.
Brown and Wallace replace Tony Madlock, now the head coach at South Carolina State, and Jermaine Johnson, the former Melrose coach, who was with the Tigers for one season.
Wallace, named head coach at North Carolina Good Better Best Academy in Durham in June, spent the past two seasons as head coach at Jordan High in Durham. Before that, the 46-year-old Philadelphia native spent one season (2013-14) as an assistant with the Detroit Pistons on Maurice Cheeks’ staff.
Wallace, who scored more than 16,000 points during his NBA career, won an NBA title with the Pistons in 2004, with Brown as the team’s coach. He spent two seasons at North Carolina, where he played for Dean Smith, one of Brown’s primary mentors. Wallace, and teammate Jerry Stackhouse (now the coach at Vanderbilt), helped lead the Tar Heels to the Final Four in 1995. Later that year, Wallace was the fourth overall selection in the NBA draft by the Washington Bullets.
As a mobile, versatile 6-foot-10 power forward, Wallace helped redefine the position, ushering in the era of the modern-day big man. At Memphis, he’ll be tasked with developing a prospect who fits a similar mold: Jalen Duren. The former No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2022, Duren recently reclassified into 2021 and committed to the Tigers. The 6-10, 225-pound five-star will factor heavily into Memphis’ plans this season.
Earlier this summer, Wallace spent time in Memphis coaching at the Iverson Classic, which featured many of the country’s top recruits, including Tigers freshmen Josh Minott and Johnathan Lawson.
Memphis won the National Invitation Tournament last season and finished the year with a 20-8 overall record.
Reach sports writer Jason Munz at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @munzly.