Memphis lands first 5-star recruit of Penny Hardaway era in D.J. Jeffries

Jeffries explains decommitment from Kentucky, ties to Memphis (2:01)

D.J. Jeffries and his family explain the process which led the five-star forward to decommit from Kentucky and his relationship with Penny Hardaway. (2:01)

Penny Hardaway landed the first five-star prospect of his Memphis tenure on Saturday morning, as top-25 forward D.J. Jeffries announced his commitment to the Tigers.

Jeffries, who decommitted from Kentucky in late July, chose Memphis over a final list that also included Mississippi State, Alabama and Ole Miss.

Hardaway coached Jeffries on the AAU circuit two years ago, and the two sides maintained a strong relationship.

Jeffries originally pledged to John Calipari and the Wildcats in March and remained committed even after Hardaway arrived at Memphis. However, he reopened his recruitment after the July live period, and Memphis and Mississippi State immediately moved to the front of the pecking order. Jeffries took official visits to all four of his finalists this fall and went to Memphis a number of times unofficially.

A 6-foot-7 combo forward from Olive Branch High School in Mississippi, Jeffries is ranked No. 21 in the ESPN 100 for the Class of 2019. He slots in as the No. 4 power forward in the country.

Jeffries averaged 15.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game on the Nike EYBL circuit this spring and summer for the Bluff City Legends grassroots program, where he played alongside No. 1 prospect James Wiseman, who is likely to choose between Memphis and Kentucky when he makes a college decision.

Hardaway now has two commitments in the 2019 class, with Jeffries joining local product Malcolm Dandridge. When Hardaway took over for Tubby Smith last spring, he had high expectations, especially on the recruiting trail. Wiseman is the top target for Memphis, but the Tigers are also in pursuit of Matthew Hurt (No. 6), Trendon Watford (No. 23), Precious Achiuwa (No. 10), Jahmius Ramsey (No. 28), Boogie Ellis (No. 40) and others.