Wednesday, November 15, 2006
It looks like Memphis head coach John Calipari's strong Northeast ties dating back to when he was the head coach the University of Massachusetts, the head coach of the New Jersey Nets, and an assistant coach with the Philadelphia 76ers continue to pay big dividends for him now that he is in the Mid-South. First, there was 6'2 Dajuan Wagner and Arthur Barclay from Camden (H.S.) NJ in 2001. Then, they landed 6'7 Sean Banks from Oradell (Bergen Catholic) NJ in 2003, 6'5 Antonio Anderson, who originally is from Lynn (Tech) MA, in 2005, and 6'5 Jeff Robinson from Elizabeth (St. Patrick) NJ earlier this year. And now our Philadelphia/Eastern Pennsylvania/South Jersey Editor Allen Rubin is telling us that 6'8 Marcus Morris from Philadelphia (Prep Charter) PA, who is ranked #43 nationally in the senior class by the HOOP SCOOP, and 6'8 Markeiff Morris from Philadelphia (Prep Charter) PA, who is ranked #113 nationally in the senior class by the HOOP SCOOP, both announced that they had signed with the Tigers at their 10:00 AM press conference earlier today. Marcus is a wing forward who can shoot the three, put it on the floor, and get to the basket and Markieff is a high/low post player who rebounds, blocks shots, and can score with both hands around the basket, which means they are are an excellent complement to one another. They are are an excellent complement to Memphis' recruiting class, which is now tied at #7, along with Ohio State on our list of the Top Recruiting Classes To-Date for the Class of 2007 and also includes 6'3 Derrick Rose from Chicago (Simeon) IL, 6'5 Jeff Robinson from Elizabeth (St. Patrick) NJ, and 6'10 Will Bogan from Bell City (H.S.) MO. And this isn't the first time that Calipari and his staff have had the equivalent of a top 12-ranked recruiting class since he took over at Memphis in the spring of 2000. If you will recall, they had the #1-ranked recruiting class in 2001 when they landed 6'2 Dajuan Wagner from Camden (H.S.) NJ, 6'8 Chris Massey from Oxnard (JC) CA, 6'4 Anthony Rice from North Clayton (College Park) GA, 6'2 Antonio Burks from Hiwassee (JC) TN, and 6'9 Duane Erwin from Huntsville (Lee) AL; they had the #3-ranked recruiting class in 2004 when they landed 6'0 Darius Washington from Orlando (Edgewater) FL, 6'9 Shawne Williams from Laurinburg (Charter) NC, 6'9 Waki Williams from Mt. San Jacinto (JC) CA, 6'7 Richard Dorsey from Laurinburg (Institute) NC, 7'0 Kareem Cooper from Laurinburg (Institute) NC, 5'10 Andre Allen from Memphis (Hamilton) TN, and 6'1 Tanqueray Beavers from Athens (H.S.) AL; they had the #5-ranked recruiting class in 2005 when they landed 6'9 Shawne Williams from Laurinburg (Institute) NC, 6'5 Chris Douglas-Roberts from Detroit (Northwestern) MI, 6'5 Antonio Anderson from Laurinburg (Institute) NC, 7'0 Kareem Cooper from Laurinburg (Institute) NC, and 6'9 Robert Dozier from Laurinburg (Institute) NC; and they had the equivalent of the #12-ranked recruiting class this past year when they landed 6'1 Willie Kemp from Bolivar (Central) TN, 6'8 Pierre Niles from Lenoir (Patterson School) NC, 6'3 Tre'Von Willis from Fresno (Washington Union) CA, 6'10 Hashim Bailey from Lenoir (The Patterson School) NC, and 6'5 Doneal Mack from Statesboro (Christian) NC. Editor Note: Mack's commitment came too late to include with last year's recruiting class and, as a result, their recruiting class was ranked #19 in our Final Ranking of the Top Recruiting Classes for the Class of 2006. In other words, the Tigers are right up there, along with schools like Duke, North Carolina, Connecticut, Texas, and USC, as one of the programs that has recruiting the best in recent years. But they also have had as many players (i.e. Dujuan Wagner, Amare Stoudemire, Kendrick Perkins, Darius Washington, & Shawne Williams) as any program in the nation defect early for the NBA Draft or never show up at all in recent years. However, that appears to be about to change, as the only player in either the program or this year's current recruiting class who is likely to go to pro anytime soon is 6'3 Derrick Rose from Chicago (Simeon) IL, who is ranked #8 nationally in the senior class by the HOOP SCOOP. And this is important, because Calipari will have the star in Rose that he needs to take his team to the highest level a year from now, plus he will have a great nucleus that is expected to be together intact for a span of several years.