It was good to have the Madness back.
After a year away due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Memphis Madness returned to a packed FedExForum to celebrate the kickoff of the highly anticipated Tigers basketball seasons.
Penny Hardaway had the early show-stopping moment, arriving in a Polaris Slingshot through a cloud of smoke before joining the men's and women's basketball teams on stage.
The home crowd got its first looks at some of the biggest additions to Tigers basketball. Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren, as well as new assistant coaches Rasheed Wallace and Larry Brown, received some of the loudest cheers before Hardaway's arrival. New women's head coach Katrina Merriweather also received a warm reception in her Madness debut.
Duren and Bates traded dunks in the scrimmage, but it was the less talked about four-star freshman Josh Minott who won the dunk contest with a 360 slam. With the title already in-hand, Minott turned it up a notch with a baseline cut, bouncing the ball between his legs before dropping the one-handed hammer.
Cordova native Tyler Harris drained 24 triples to take home the three-point contest crown, while former Tigers player and current grad assistant Willie Kemp won the skills challenge.
Among the recruits to watch it all: 2022 Memphis commit Noah Batchelor, and DJ Wagner, the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2023.
It was an all-time preview, for what is shaping up to be an all-time season at FedExForum.