'Personal business' sidelines 2
Big men absent from practice on Thursday
By Dan Wolken
October 27, 2006
University of Memphis centers Kareem Cooper and Hashim Bailey were absent from Thursday's practice to take care of what coach John Calipari called "personal business." "(Cooper) and Hashim have some things they're taking care of right now," Calipari said.
Calipari declined to elaborate but said they should be back for today's practice. Without Cooper and Bailey, the Tigers were down to just one true big man with junior Joey Dorsey. Freshman Pierre Niles has been out since having arthroscopic surgery on Oct. 16 to clean up some cartilage in his right knee. Niles should be back in approximately two weeks.
The lack of centers in practice gave Calipari a chance to work with his small lineup, which he plans to use some this season.
"Until Pierre comes back, we're going to be a regular-sized team," Calipari said. "We went from being huge to Pierre being down, a couple big guys out and all the sudden you've got four big men not in and so this happens in a season."
Walk-on guard Jared Sandridge also missed practice due to a sore knee.
Point guard Derrick Rose, the Tigers' top recruiting target, will visit University of Illinois this weekend, according to published reports out of Chicago, his hometown.
Rose, rated the No. 3 high school senior in the country by Rivals scouting service, visited Memphis on Oct. 13 and 14.
Rose was thought to be deciding between Memphis, Indiana and possibly DePaul. In August, Rose released a list of his top-five schools, and it didn't include Illinois.
"Sometimes you have to step back and re-evaluate the whole process,'' his brother, Reggie Rose, told the Chicago Sun-Times. "We don't want to look back after it's all over and too late and realize we made the wrong decision.
"We have discussed it with some close confidants and believe Illinois is a great place. The school has a great (basketball) program and it is in our home state. And no decision would be valid without giving Illinois a serious look."
Per NCAA rules, Calipari can't comment on unsigned recruits.
Nov. 8 is the first day of the signing period.
Odds and ends
The Tigers practiced in front of a crowd for the second day in a row. Wednesday, they hosted a group of potential donors. Thursday, The Rebounders booster club was at Finch Center and had dinner with the team afterwards. ... Walk-on Chance McGrady has changed numbers this season from No. 11 to No. 55. ... The Tigers spent a lot of time working on their full-court press, which had looked ragged early but was much improved Thursday.
-- Dan Wolken: 529-2365