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Saturday, June 10, 2006

U of M Basketball Recruits Enrolled in Summer School

U of M basketball recruits enrolled in summer school

By Gary Parrish, Memphis Commercial Appeal
June 6, 2006

The next batch of University of Memphis recruits officially became college students Monday, enrolling in summer school to get a head start on academics heading into their freshman seasons. "It's cool," Tre'Von Willis said Monday afternoon at the Finch Center, where dozens of youth campers were running around during the first session of the annual John Calipari Basketball School. "I'm really excited that stuff is kicking off. I'm ready to start training and working out."

Willis, a shooting guard from Fresno, Calif., is one of five Tigers who began classes Monday. Joining him were Bolivar Central High point guard Willie Kemp, New Jersey center Hashim Bailey, former Ridgeway High forward Pierre Niles and Shawn Taggart, a forward who is transferring from Iowa State and will sit out all of next season per NCAA transfer rules. Taggart will play in 2007-08 and have three years of eligibility remaining. A Mr. Basketball winner last season, Kemp, at 6-2, probably has the best opportunity to start as a freshman. He'll compete with veteran Andre Allen for minutes at the point now that it appears Darius Washington will remain in the NBA Draft despite his unclear status as a prospect.

Though Calipari is optimistic and doesn't anticipate any problems, that all the recruits enrolled in summer school does not necessarily mean they will be eligible to compete as freshmen. Kemp, Willis, Niles and Bailey still have to be cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

"It's never over until all the stuff is official," Calipari said. "But we fully expect all four (freshmen) will be playing for us next season."

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