The Commercial Appeal
Hardaway calls SMU out after fans’ ‘personal’ attacks on Davis
DALLAS — Kendric Davis had reached his boiling point.
The Memphis basketball team’s leading man was lifted from Thursday’s 81-62 win over SMU, his former team in his first game back at Moody Coliseum since transferring last offseason, with 2:07 left in the game. That’s when the “traitor” chants he had been hearing from the student section located behind the visiting bench all game finally got to him.
Davis, who scored 23 points, put up 10 assists and came away with four steals, lashed out and needed to be calmed down by teammates and members of Memphis’ coaching staff. After the game, coach Penny Hardaway had some strong words for the SMU administration.
“(The fans) were really personal, man,” said Hardaway. “To me, that’s poor on the administration for allowing those kids to say what they were saying over there. You gotta get ‘em out. The kids that are being very disrespectful. I heard what they were saying. For them to let them stay in there, that lets you know what SMU is all about, and I mean that.”
Davis spent three seasons at SMU after playing his freshman year at TCU.
“Just some of the disrespect I heard, and it kinda got to me,” Davis said. “I gave so much here. Sometimes, before you come do that, you’ve gotta do research, I feel like, on what you’re heckling about. It’s supposed to be love. It’s a reunion, not no death match. So, I was real emotional about that, but they calmed me down. I heard them say ‘traitor,’ and that’s the last thing I am. I stayed here when I could’ve left years ago.”
Once the game ended, Davis stuck around on the court for a few minutes to mingle with some familiar faces. He said he received apologies on behalf of the hecklers.
“I mean, the people in this program know what I’ve been through,” he said. “They’ve seen the hours. They’ve seen the off-court problems I had to deal with and they stuck with me through it all. So, they just apologized for the fans.”
Memphis (23-7, 13-4 AAC) secured the No. 2 seed at next week’s conference tournament with Thursday’s win. The Tigers have won 11 out of 13 games and will close out the regular season against No. 1 Houston on Sunday (11 a.m., CBS).
Reach sports writer Jason Munz at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @munzly.