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Malcolm Dandridge to Miss FAU Matchup

Memphis forward Malcolm Dandridge dunks, as Memphis defeats Tulane.
Memphis forward Malcolm Dandridge dunks, as Memphis defeats Tulane.

Memphis Tiger basketball is many things, but boring is never one of them. Once again, off the court issues have hit the program, as news broke late Friday night that graduate center Malcolm Dandridge will be held out indefinitely for potential eligibility reasons, as first reported by Bluff City Media. 

The Daily Helmsman received this statement from Memphis Athletics this afternoon: “The University of Memphis is currently gathering and reviewing information regarding a potential issue impacting Malcolm Dandridge’s eligibility and is withholding him from competition until further notice. To protect the integrity of that process, we are unable to comment further at this time.” 

While the investigation is an internal one, as opposed to an NCAA investigation, it marks yet another compliance related issue within the program under Penny Hardaway. Hardaway was already suspended for the opening 3 games this season for an unpermitted in-home visit of a Texas high school recruit in 2022. This followed the IARP investigation into the basketball program for the infamous James Wiseman situation, in which Hardaway paid $11,500 in “moving expenses” for Wiseman so he could transfer to Hardaway’s East High School team from Ensworth, then played Wiseman for 3 games after the NCAA declared him ineligible. 

Dandridge is in his 5th season with the program, after playing for Hardaway’s East High School teams and being his first high school recruit. After battling knee injuries and struggling to be conditioned as a result for his first 3 years, Dandridge has been an integral piece of the Tigers the past two seasons, starting in 19 games this year. This season he is averaging 8.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.4 bpg, and 18.8 mpg, a career best in all of those categories. 

This is a massive blow to Memphis’ front court depth, as Dandridge has been arguably the Tigers’ second best front court player behind Kansas State transfer Nae’Qwan Tomlin, and it could not have come at much worse of a time, as the Tigers are scratching and clawing to receive a bid into the NCAA tournament after numerous conference play setbacks.  

On Sunday, the Tigers will have revenge on their minds as they welcome Florida Atlantic for the first of two monstrous matchups, who were the preseason AAC favorite and the team who knocked them out of the NCAA tournament in heartbreaking fashion last year. The absence of Malcolm Dandridge will loom large in this game, as FAU’s second leading scorer is 7 '1 Vladislav Golden, who would have been Dandridge’s main assignment on defense.  

After tomorrow’s home game versus FAU, Memphis will travel to Greeneville, North Carolina to battle ECU, followed up with senior night against UAB and the return trip to Boca Raton to play FAU once again in the regular season finale. Only time will tell how long Dandridge’s absence is, and the effect it will have on the team as this roller coaster of a season comes to a close.  

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