Tiger basketball camp report
October 29, 2006
Cooper remains absent
Tigers coach John Calipari on Saturday declined to specify when -- or if -- sophomore center Kareem Cooper would return to the team following his third straight day absent from practice.
Calipari did say Cooper wouldn't be with the team the rest of this weekend while dealing with "personal issues." Discussing Cooper on Friday, Calipari said: "He's dealing with some personal issues right now. We'll have to see where that goes."
Cooper, listed at 6-11 and 290 pounds, played 11.1 minutes per game last season and started once. He couldn't be reached for comment.
Derrick Rose, the Tigers' top recruiting target, visited an Illinois scrimmage on Friday night and spoke to media members afterwards.
Rose, who lives in Chicago, said he would hold a press conference next Saturday to announce his decision between Memphis, Illinois and Indiana.
In August, Rose seemingly eliminated Illinois when he released a list of his top five schools that included Memphis, Indiana, UCLA, Kansas and DePaul.
"Sometimes you think the grass is greener on the other side, but when you go take that look you say, 'It ain't like we think. Let's go take another look.'" Rose's brother, Reggie Rose, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "If Illinois wasn't on the list, we wouldn't even be down here."
Rose is rated as the No. 3 player in the country by Rivals scouting service and the No. 1 point guard. An NBA Draft Web site, nbadraft.net, projects Rose going No. 1 overall in 2008.
Memphis coaches can't comment on unsigned recruits.
The Tigers scrimmaged Saturday and will practice again today in what Calipari called a crucial weekend for his team's development.
Memphis plays LeMoyne-Owen in an exhibition Thursday at FedExForum, marking the unofficial beginning of the season. Once that game is over, the Tigers will basically be in regular-season mode. The Tigers open the season officially Nov. 16 against Jackson State.
The next day, they fly to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational.
"After this weekend, we're going to be about 75 percent of (what we need to be for) Maui," Calipari said.
-- Dan Wolken