Tennessee Vols morning report: Penny Hardaway lies, Todd Kelly retires

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09: Tennessee Volunteers fans cheer during the first half of the game against the Indiana State Sycamores at Neyland Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09: Tennessee Volunteers fans cheer during the first half of the game against the Indiana State Sycamores at Neyland Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Tennessee Vols continuing their spat with Penny Hardaway and Todd Kelly Jr. retiring lead our Volunteers news for Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019.

Tons of breaking news took place on Thursday surrounding the Tennessee Vols, and it was largely in football and men’s basketball. Some of it was drama, while others surrounded coaches and former players.

As we get set to bring you our morning news on Rocky Top for this Thursday, all of those stories will be a focus of our coverage. It’s a bit ridiculous, very tragic, and par for the course in many ways when it comes to those stories.

We also have a women’s basketball preview and a softball preview to get to, so the multiple Lady Vols sports get some coverage in today’s report as well. We’re going to start with the drama in men’s basketball, though.

Penny Hardaway slams Rick Barnes again – Get Up! Show, ESPN

Continuing his feud with Tennessee Vols men’s basketball head coach Rick Barnes, Memphis Tigers head coach Penny Hardaway made up another false statement Wednesday on ESPN. When asked by Jalen Rose about the scuffle between the two teams in December, Hardaway claimed that he respected Barnes but falsely claimed Barnes was insulting people with the Tigers. Here’s the direct quote from Hardaway.

"“After the game I didn’t feel like he gave my team a fair understanding what we were trying to do. He was kind of mocking the NBA and our coaching staff and I really didn’t like that.”"

Todd Kelly Jr. forced to retire – Todd Kelly Twitter account

Tennessee Vols safety Todd Kelly Jr., the son of former Vol Todd Kelly and a four-star recruit from the 2014 class, has been forced to retire due to injury. Kelly recorded eight interceptions in his career with the Vols and was a regular contributor from 2014 through 2016, when he was a starter, but he suffered a season-ending injury in 2017 and was never able to fully recover in 2018 despite seeing action. He made the announcement on Twitter. Here’s part of what he said.

"“After meeting with several specialists, I have been advised to retire from the game of football due to the damage done to my knee over my career. This diagnosis will hinder me from pursuing a career in the NFL; nevertheless, I look forward to seeing what God has in store for me the rest of my life.”"

Charles Kelly offered job at Maryland – Doug Samuels, FootballScoop.com

Tennessee Vols safeties coach Charles Kelly has been offered the defensive coordinator position with the Maryland Terrapins by new Terps head coach Mike Locksley. The veteran coach has experience coaching UT, the Florida State Seminoles and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

"Kelly just wrapped up his first season on the Vols staff and prior to that he served as the defensive coordinator at Florida State for four seasons under Jimbo Fisher from 2014-17.He stepped from special teams coordinator and linebackers coach into the defensive coordinator role for the Seminoles after capturing the 2013 national title after Jeremy Pruitt left the staff for the defensive coordinator job at Georgia."

Tennessee Lady Vols to visit Alabama – UTSports

Suffering through a three-game losing streak, the No. 20/17 ranked Tennessee Lady Vols will visit the Alabama Crimson Tide hoping to get back on track. At 12-4 and 1-3 in the league, this is a crucial game against a team who is 9-8 and 1-3 in the conference as well. Tipoff is set for 9 p.m. E.T.

"This marks the 56th meeting between these programs, with Alabama holding a four-game winning streak over the Lady Vols and taking the past two games in Tuscaloosa. In addition to attempting to halt that series streak, the Lady Vols will be seeking to end a three-game losing skid that began on Jan. 6. UT has lost its last three contests to Missouri (66-64), Kentucky (73-71) and Georgia (66-62) by a combined total of eight points."

Softball picked to finish third in the SEC – SECSports.com

The Tennessee Lady Vols softball team was picked by league coaches to finish third in the SEC. They received no first place votes and were behind the Georgia Bulldogs at No. 2 and the Florida Gators at No. 1.

"Points for the poll were awarded on a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12 basis. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.SEC teams begin action on Thursday, Feb. 7. The 2019 SEC Softball Tournament will take place May 8-11 at Davis Diamond in College Station, Texas."