Penny Hardaway, two weeks after securing Memphis basketball’s first 2023 commitment, has landed the second pledge of the recruiting class.
Calvary Christian (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 6-foot-4 guard Carl Cherenfant − rated a four-star prospect in the 247Sports Composite − announced Sunday his intention to play for the Tigers next season. He joins Link Academy (Branson, Mo.) 6-3 guard Ryan Forrest, a West Memphis, Ark., native, who committed to Memphis earlier this month.
Cherenfant took two official visits with the Tigers. The first (March 5) gave him a front-row seat for the team’s win over Houston in the 2021-22 regular-season finale. The second came last week. Memphis and St. John’s are the only two programs Cherenfant visited twice. LSU, South Carolina, Mississippi State, UCF and South Florida were the others that made up his list of seven finalists.
“The bottom line is it’s about what system and culture puts me in the best position, with a great team around me and can help me accomplish my dream, which is playing in the NBA,” Cherenfant told The Commercial Appeal.
MEMPHIS BASKETBALL:Ashton Hardaway, Penny Hardaway’s son and 3-star recruit, puts on a show in front of dad
PENNY HARDAWAY:Inside the new Penny Hardaway contract with Memphis basketball: Buyouts, Nike and the NBA
SIGN UP:Memphis Tigers Basketball Insider text group with Jason Munz
Cherenfant is a 198-pound, high-energy, two-way presence on the floor. He lines up anywhere from point guard to small forward at Calvary Christian. Despite his versatility, Cherenfant expects to be utilized primarily at the point or the off-guard spot.
Last season, as a junior, Cherenfant averaged 11.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.9 steals per game en route to helping lead Calvary Christian to a Class 4A state championship and the inaugural State Champions Invitational title.
The Tigers will lose several backcourt pieces after this season, including Kendric Davis, Alex Lomax and Elijah McCadden. If Damaria Franklin is deemed eligible to play this season, he won’t return to Memphis next season, either. Cherenfant views it as a prime opportunity to make an early impact.
“They have emphasized over and over again to me how important I am to them and the needs I can fill for them,” he said. “I think they’re trying to put a great recruiting class together. They’ve got a lot of older guys that’s gonna be out of basketball next year. So they have to kind of build again with some key foundational pieces.”
Johnathan Lawson, Keonte Kennedy and Jayden Hardaway all have eligibility remaining after this season.
Cherenfant plans to sign during the early signing period, which runs Nov. 9-16.
Reach sports writer Jason Munz at email@example.com or on Twitter @munzly.