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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Camp Report

Tiger basketball camp report

November 9, 2006

Taggart surgery
Even if he were completely healthy, Tigers center Shawn Taggart wouldn't have been able to play this year due to NCAA transfer rules.

So in that sense, it's somewhat redundant that Taggart had season-ending surgery Tuesday to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his right knee.

Taggart suffered the injury in a pick-up game before the Tigers officially began practice Oct. 13. Though Taggart would have been eligible to practice this year, the decision to have surgery was an easy one since Taggart had to sit out this year anyway after transferring from Iowa State.

The time frame for Taggart's full recovery is 6-to-8 months, meaning he'll have plenty of time to get ready for the 2007-08 season. Tigers coach John Calipari expects Taggart, a former top-50 recruit, to have a big impact once he gets healthy.

"He'll be an ideal (center) for us because he's 6-11," Calipari said. "He's great around the rim. He'll block shots. He's active. He'll be great on the back of a press."

Side trip

The Tigers took Tuesday off, which allowed Calipari to take some members of his coaching staff to Lubbock, Texas, where they observed Bobby Knight run practice at Texas Tech.

Calipari said it was the first time he's seen a Knight practice. In return, Calipari gave Knight film of a Memphis practice for him to critique.

"He's the best," Calipari said. "Their practice is really physical, the practice is really intense. There's no drag time, and every player does what they're supposed to be doing ... It was good for me to see."

Making progress

Senior guard Jeremy Hunt is the most experienced player on the Tigers' roster. He's a novice, however, at running the Tigers' offense.

Last season, when the Tigers installed a new system based on Pepperdine coach Vance Walberg's driving motion, Hunt wasn't a member of the team, sidelined for off-court issues.
Calipari took a moment out of practice Wednesday, however, to point out that Hunt is finally getting a feel for things.

"Right now I'm just thinking easy play every time," Hunt said. "It's getting easier every day.
"It's a whole lot different from seeing it, and saying, 'Oh that's easy,' and then going out and actually running it with defense on you. It's not that easy just by watching it on the sidelines."

Etc.

Center Joey Dorsey continues to be sidelined by a sprained toe on his right foot. He missed his third straight practice Wednesday and spent some time wearing a protective boot. ...

Wednesday was the beginning of the week-long signing period for recruits, but the Memphis coaching staff doesn't expect to get paperwork mailed back from the Tigers' two commitments -- point guard Derrick Rose and shooting guard Jeff Robinson -- until later in the week. Rose and Robinson are the only two players expected to sign in the fall period.

-- Dan Wolken

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