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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Yippee, Midnight Madness - October 13th!!!!!!!!!!!

Are you ready? It's almost here.

I can hear it now...............................Starting at Center for your Memphis Tigers....................Joey Point Guard Andre Shooting Guard Antonio forward Robert Dozier......................and at the other forward, Chris Douglas-Roberts................................Coaching the Tigers in his 7th season, John Calipari.................................Oh yeah!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Former Tiger Dajuan Wagner Signs with the Golden State Warriors

Wagner looks to revive pro career, signs with Warriors

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Dajuan Wagner, the once-promising point guard whose NBA career was derailed by injuries and a serious illness, signed with the Golden State Warriors on Friday after being out of the league for nearly two years. Wagner was the sixth pick in the 2002 draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers after just one collegiate season at Memphis, but health problems prevented him from becoming the star most expected.

After averaging 13.4 points in 47 games as a rookie, Wagner's second season in Cleveland was limited to 44 games and limited playing time after arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He played just 11 games early in the 2004-05 season before his years of stomach pain were diagnosed as colitis, an inflammation of the colon.

Wagner's colon was removed last October, and he lost 30 pounds before returning to workouts this year in hopes of a comeback. Several teams expressed interest in Wagner, who will join a backcourt in Golden State with Baron Davis, Jason Richardson and second-year pro Monta Ellis.
Wagner, the son of former NBA guard Milt Wagner, is the leading scorer in New Jersey high school basketball history, once scoring 100 points in a game.

The Warriors open training camp Oct. 2 in Oakland.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Former Tiger Tony Matlock Joins UTEP staff, Heavy Tiger Influence

Barbee announces coaching staff

El Paso (TX) Times

UTEP men's basketball coach Tony Barbee officially announced his 2006-07 staff today. Returning to the Miners for his third season as an assistant is Randall Dickey. New to the UTEP staff are assistants Tony Madlock and Milt Wagner, and director of basketball operations Mike Babul.

Madlock joins the Miner program after nine years as an assistant coach at Arkansas State. He helped the Indians capture the Sun Belt Conference Tournament title in 1999, earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Arkansas State also won the Sun Belt regular season championship in 1998. Madlock earned his bachelor's degree in marketing from Memphis in 1991, and played for the Tigers from 1988 to 1992. Madlock was a member of four postseason tournament teams at Memphis (two NCAA, two NIT), leading the Tigers to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament in 1992.

Wagner served as coordinator of basketball operations at Memphis for the past six seasons. While at Memphis, Wagner worked with Barbee and was a part of the school's run to 148 victories and six straight postseason tournament appearances, including the Elite Eight of the 2006 NCAA Tournament. Wagner starred as a collegian at the University of Louisville, directing the Cardinals to three Final Four berths and the 1986 NCAA championship. He ranks fifth in school history with 1,836 career points, and his jersey has been retired by Louisville. Wagner was chosen by Dallas in the second round of the 1986 NBA Draft, and went on to win a world championship as a member of the 1987-88 Los Angeles Lakers.

Babul spent the 2005-06 campaign as coordinator of basketball operations at Drexel University. He also worked at Youngstown State as an assistant during the 2004-05 season, and spent one year (2003-04) as assistant to the director of basketball operations at Memphis. Babul got his start in coaching as an assistant at Seekonk High School in Massachusetts. He graduated from UMass in 2000 with a degree in sports management. Babul lettered for the Minutemen from 1997-2000, serving as team captain his senior year. His collegiate honors included being appointed to the Atlantic 10 Conference All-Defensive Team and All-Academic Team on three occasions each. Babul played for Barbee at UMass and later working with him at Memphis..

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Count Down Begins - One More Month to Wait

As Mike DeCoursey of the Sporting News reminded me this morning, college basketball season is but one month away.

So this is a great time to start reflecting on what I think we will be seeing from the Memphis Tigers and the rest of college basketball.

There are several important questions regarding Memphis:

1) How will the Sophomore class (CDR, Robert Dozier, Antonio Anderson, Kareem Cooper) react to last year? Will there be a sophomore slump or will these guys step up to be the leaders this team will require to get back deep in the NCAA tournament?

2) Will Jeremy Hunt be a factor? Is he a leader? How will the rest of the team accept him on the court versus being on the sidelines?

3) And what about this heralded Freshman class? Hashim Bailey, Willie Kemp, Doneal Mack, Pierre Niles and Tre'Von Willis. At least two of these guys need to be big impact players. My guess - Willie Kemp and Doneal Mack. The other three I expect to get some minutes, but basically be bench players.

My first and second team

Likely Starters

1 - Andre Allen, Jr.
2 - Antonio Anderson, So.
3 - Chris Douglas-Roberts, So.
4 - Robert Dozier, So.
5 - Joey Dorsey, Jr.

Likely 2nd Team

1 - Willie Kemp, Fr.
2 - Doneal Mack, Fr.
3 - Jeremy Hunt, Sr.
4 - Pierre Niles, Fr.
5 - Kareem Cooper, So.

And a few questions about Conference USA

1) Will it be any better? C-USA was the #13 conference in the RPI last year - clearly a problem for Memphis.

UAB (#32 last year) lost their best players to graduation and there very fine coach, Mike Anderson, to Missouri. Now Mike Davis is a good coach, but as Mike Davis says, UAB is probably a year away. Look for UAB's RPI to fall this year.

Houston (#53) has an excellent coach in Tommy Penders and seems to be gaining traction as a program. Hopefully, we see some improvement in Houston's RPI and better overall non-conference scheduling from the Cougers. Last year was odd - they beat Arizona at home and won at LSU, but lost at home to Virginia Commonwealth and Central Florida. Also the benefit of playing #24 Arizona and #13 LSU is offset with #325 Centenary. With the addition of two new league games this year, Memphis has added second games with Houston and SMU.

UTEP (#76) will see some change adding a new coach, former Tiger assistant Tony Barbee. While I know UTEP has traditionally been a tough place to play, I get the feeling this program is in decline. I can't put my finger on just why yet, but I'll let you know soon. Again as with Houston, UTEP needs to improve the non-conference schedule. You can't play #307 Texas Southern, #258 Alabama A&M and #297 Mississippi Valley State - not when you have #268 SMU, #300 East Carolina, #217 Tulane, #231 Marshall, #203 Tulsa, #246 Sou Mississippi and #218 Rice in your league.

Please Conference USA ADs and Coaches, improvement comes from recruiting and scheduling. You clearly need some help.

I am encouraged by two programs - Rice, who should have a decent year, and SMU, who has added a big name coach with good experience.

3) And finally on a National basis, who is really good. My picks:

Ohio State, Florida, North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA

Not sold on:

LSU, Texas, the Big East (though I do like Marquette)

Andy Katz on UAB's Mike Davis

Davis at peace as he starts up at UAB

By Andy Katz

The two phone conversations couldn't have been more different.

In February, Mike Davis was distraught. He was literally ill. He was also sick of the negativity he said he felt around Indiana's program.

Unbeknownst to this reporter at the time of the call, Davis already had initiated talks with Indiana president Adam Herbert about resigning at the end of the season. That day, when he sat out the Iowa game in Bloomington, Ind., was the lowest this reporter had heard him since he was picked as Bob Knight's successor in 2000.

Now, cut to this week, as he is preparing UAB, his new program, for a Labor Day weekend trip to the Bahamas. This is a different Davis. He is relaxed. He is incredibly comfortable. His infectious smile is almost visible through the phone. You can feel his enthusiasm and his overall comfort in life.

His departure from Indiana and his arrival at UAB, in his home state of Alabama (he's a former 'Bama player from 1980-83), at a program fresh off three straight NCAA Tournament appearances with a burgeoning fan base and a real enthusiasm for his presence, has changed his professional life like no other elixir.

"I'm sleeping better, everything is wonderful," Davis said. "It's a complete change. I'm just coaching basketball.

"The Indiana thing really helped me, and I was a better coach because of it," Davis said. "[Indiana] gave me a chance to lead a program."

Davis was no slouch in Bloomington. After taking over for legendary coach Bob Knight, Davis coached Indiana to the 2002 national title game and went to four NCAA Tournaments in six seasons. He averaged 19.2 wins per year and may have done his best coaching job in the final weeks of his era, getting the lost Hoosiers to find their footing after his resignation was announced and win at Michigan to close the regular season, essentially clinching an NCAA Tournament berth for IU and possibly nixing one for the Wolverines.

When Mike Anderson went from UAB to Missouri, there really was no other choice for the Blazers. Davis made more sense for this job than any other name that popped up on the coaching carousel.

Davis isn't going to play the 40 minutes of craziness that Anderson employed, but that's OK. Most of that team -- led by the irreplaceable Carldell "Squeaky" Johnson -- is gone, anyway. The Blazers return only six players from a team that lost to Kentucky by five in the NCAA Tournament's first round. Three of them were part-time starters (Frank Holmes, Lawrence Kinnard and Wen Mukubu), while the other three were role players.

Davis and the previous Anderson staff brought in a combined nine newcomers. Three are practicing this week with the Blazers but won't be going on the trip to the Bahamas; two of those three will be the face of UAB's program next year when Davis plans to challenge Memphis for the league title -- transfers Robert Vaden (the former Indiana guard) and Walter Sharpe (the former Mississippi State forward). The third is Davis' son, Mike Davis Jr.

"Robert is taking 1,000 shots a day and he's making a bunch," Davis said. "Sharpe looks really good. Every day those guys will be competing on our scout team. I'm not sure there are any better guys sitting out than those two on a team in the country. Next year, we'll have everybody back essentially, with Vaden and Sharpe, and that's scary."

The current crew should get a big lift from former Oklahoma signee Jeremy Mayfield, 6-foot-10 forward. Davis said the Blazers are expecting to hear on his eligibility this week. Mayfield went to God's Academy (Texas), which was on the NCAA diploma mill list, and is getting his transcript run through the NCAA clearinghouse to ensure it's OK before he's cleared.

If Mayfield is good to go, the Blazers have the necessary big man to challenge in C-USA. Expect Davis to play mainly a half-court style, like he did with Marco Killingsworth and D.J. White at Indiana, but the Blazers won't ignore the break totally.

The early practices at UAB this week will be more like an NBA preseason. They are getting introduced to each other, putting in some basic plays and doing some conditioning so they're ready to compete over Labor Day. Once they reconvene in October, they'll address more detailed areas of concern and put in more of Davis' system.

For now, Davis is pleased with the roster's athleticism and strength and the overall attitude of a place that he sees as becoming "big-time."

"This is perfect for me here," said Davis, who didn't want to talk about the ongoing issues at IU with his successor, Kelvin Sampson. "I couldn't have written a better script. I couldn't have been in a better place. This is where I'm from. The people don't bother you at all here. Everything is positive.

"This is where I want to be," Davis said. "I don't want to go anywhere else. I want to be right here."

Davis contributed to his turbulent times at Indiana; he made self-deprecating statements about his coaching ability and sometimes had a loose temper with officials. Of course, his team's erratic offensive output that led to interminable scoring droughts didn't help. But the constant questioning, even six years after he got the job, clearly got to him and the program.

Now he's earned a fresh start, and he's never sounded more at ease.

Andy Katz is a senior writer for

Dickie V's Top 40

Top 40


When looking at the landscape of college basketball, the 2006-07 season should be excitement galore, baby!

There are so many talented teams out there. I mean just look what happened with George Mason, the Cinderella story making it to the Final Four. Will we see more surprises this season?
It is time to look at my summertime rankings for the upcoming campaign, 10 at a time until I unveil number one. Here we go.

1. North Carolina Roy Williams has a super recruiting class coming in to join Tyler Hansbrough and company. There will be joy on Franklin Street!
2. Florida Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, Al Horford and company want to be the first repeat champion since Duke. The Gators have a legit shot of doing it.
3. Kansas Rock, chalk, Jayhawk! They will be rocking and rolling in Lawrence as Bill Self's team is loaded.
4. Ohio State Thad Matta needs a healthy Greg Oden. The Buckeyes should be the team to beat in the Big Ten.
5. UCLA Ben Howland is happy Arron Afflalo returned to school. The Bruins are the best in the West.
6. Pittsburgh Jamie Dixon loses guard Carl Krauser but returns Aaron Gray in the middle.
7. LSU Glen Davis decided to stay in school so John Brady has a tough SEC challenger.
8. Georgetown John Thompson III has done a nice job and he has talent up front in Roy Hibbert and Jeff Green.
9. Alabama Ronald Steele is one of the premier point guards in America.
10. Duke Look for big things from Josh McRoberts as he moves into a more natural position up front.
11. Wisconsin Bo Ryan is one of the unsung heroes in the coaching profession. Alando Tucker and Kammron Taylor will make sweet music.
12. Marquette Tom Crean loses Steve Novak but he has a lot of returning talent, including a guy I love in Dominic James.
13. Boston College Jared Dudley and company will be tough in the ACC.
14. Arizona Lute Olson is glad Mustafa Shakur returned. Marcus Williams will be a big-time super soph.
15. Connecticut It is not a rebuilding period for Jim Calhoun ... it is re-loading, baby!
16. Villanova If Curtis Sumpter can return to form, watch out.
17. Memphis John Calipari lost a lot but will still be the team to beat in C-USA.
18. Tennessee Bruce Pearl's squad wasn't a one-hit wonder. Look for big things from Chris Lofton.
19. Texas If Rick Barnes had LaMarcus Aldridge, PJ Tucker and Daniel Gibson back the Longhorns would be in the top three. Instead, Kevin Durant will step in and be a major impact player.
20. Louisville Rick Pitino's team will bounce back with David Padgett a factor up front.
21. Kentucky Big blue fans should relax because Tubby Smith is a flat-out winner.
22. Gonzaga Even without Adam Morrison, Mark Few has built up a consistent program.
23. Texas A&M The Aggies won't sneak up on people any more. This is a Big 12 contender.
24. Georgia Tech Paul Hewitt's club will bounce back big time as diaper dandies Thaddeus Young and Javaris Crittenton shine immediately.
25. Xavier Drew Lavender is eligible after transferring from Oklahoma.
26. Oklahoma State Sean Sutton's first full season as coach will be special, led by JamesOn Curry.
27. Illinois With names like McBride, Pruitt and Frazier, this team will be better than people think.
28. Washington Even without Brandon Roy, Lorenzo Romar has a team that will make noise in the Pac-10.
29. Southern Illinois Could this be this year's George Mason?
30. San Diego State If Marcus Slaughter had returned to school, this would have been a Top 20 team.
31. Wichita State Even without MVC most outstanding player Paul Miller, this squad will be dangerous.
32. Creighton Nate Funk's return has opponents in a funk.
33. California If Leon Powe had returned ...
34. Texas Tech The General, Robert Montgomery Knight, enjoys a record-breaking season.
35. Nevada Coach Mark Fox is smiling as Nick Fazekas is back.
36. Arkansas The fans in Razorback country will be in hog heaven with this squad.
37. Michigan Even without Daniel Horton, coach Tommy Amaker knows he has a team with potential.
38. Florida State Leonard Hamilton will rely on his guards. Former Auburn star Toney Douglas will have an impact.
39. South Carolina Dave Odom's team wants to build on its NIT success.
40. Maryland Gary Williams' club will bounce back strong.

Dickie V Says Time for Chris Douglas-Roberts to Step Up

Time for some to step up

I am looking forward to the 2006-07 season and one of the reasons is because there are several players who must step up to help their respective teams succeed. These guys are must-do players and are in the spotlight this season. One example is down in Memphis where John Calipari's team lost a lot of talent with Rodney Carney, Darius Washington Jr. and Shawne Williams leaving. Now it's a must for Chris Douglas-Roberts to have a big season. The 6-6 sophomore provides versatility and the multi-talented player should build off of last year's success.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Season Is Officially Open - We Have a Season Schedule

Memphis Basketball Announces 2006-07 Schedule

Tigers to make more than 15 national television appearances

Sept. 6, 2006

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Major road trips to Arizona, Gonzaga and Tennessee, in addition to a late November trip to the EA Sports Maui Invitational, highlight the 2006-07 University of Memphis basketball schedule, head coach John Calipari announced Wednesday. The Tigers travel to Tennessee Dec. 6, Arizona Dec. 20 and Gonzaga Feb. 17. The EA Sports Maui Invitational is slated for Nov. 20-22.

Game times will be announced at a later date.

The road trips to Spokane and Knoxville are return games from the 2005-06 campaign, while the Arizona contest begins a two-year, home-and-home series with the Wildcats.

Arizona, Gonzaga and Tennessee are three of eight opponents that played in the 2006 postseason. Memphis also faces Houston (NIT), Manhattan (NIT), Oklahoma (NCAA), UAB (NCAA) and UTEP (NIT). The Tigers could also meet another 2006 NCAA Tournament participant in either Kentucky or UCLA, depending on the Maui Invitational results.

The Tigers played 15 regular-season contests on national television in 2005-06, and that number is expected to be more this season. Memphis has national television games slated for CBS, CSTV, ESPN, ESPN2 and Fox Sports Net (FSN). Conference USA is expected to release the league's entire television schedule within the next two weeks.

Memphis tips off its regular season Nov. 16 against Jackson State at FedExForum. After the trip to Maui Nov. 20-22, the Tigers return to FedExForum for a three-game homestand against Arkansas State Nov. 29, Manhattan Dec. 2 and Conference USA foe Marshall Dec. 4. The Memphis-Marshall Dec. 4 contest is the earliest league game played in Conference USA's 12-year history.

After the trip to Tennessee, Memphis hosts Ole Miss Dec. 9 and Austin Peay Dec. 14 before hitting the road to Tucson for the Dec. 20 match-up with Arizona. The Tigers close 2006 with home dates against Middle Tennessee Dec. 23 and Lamar Dec. 28.

Memphis faces long-time rival Cincinnati Jan. 4 at FedExForum before picking up Conference USA play again in mid-January. The Tigers have two additional mirror opponents along with Southern Miss (Jan. 13 in Hattiesburg; Jan. 27 in Memphis), Tulsa (Jan. 24 in Memphis; Feb. 14 in Tulsa) and UAB (Jan. 16 in Memphis; Feb. 8 in Birmingham). Memphis also has home-and-home league series with Houston (Jan. 11 in Houston; Feb. 25 in Memphis) and SMU (Feb. 3 in Memphis; Mar. 3 in Dallas).

The Tigers' "Senior Day" is slated for the final home game against Houston Feb. 25. In early March, the Tigers travel to El Paso to play UTEP in a match-up of mentor versus student as Calipari faces former assistant coach Tony Barbee, who took over the Miner program in mid-August.

For the third-straight year, Memphis hosts LeMoyne-Owen and Christian Brothers in exhibition play at FedExForum. The Tigers meet the Magicians Nov. 2 and face the Buccaneers Nov. 6.

Memphis returns two starters and 10 letterwinners from the 2005-06 team that won a school-record 33 games (33-4 mark). The Tigers won the 2006 Conference USA regular season and tournament titles and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.

The following is the 2006-07 schedule:

November -
2, LeMoyne-Owen (Exhibition);
6, Christian Brothers (Exhibition);
16, Jackson State;
20, vs. Oklahoma (EA Sports Maui Invitational);
21, Georgia Tech or Purdue (EA Sports Maui Invitational);
22, Seventh-Place/Fifth-Place/Third-Place/Championship;
29, Arkansas State

December -
2, Manhattan;
4, Marshall*;
6, at Tennessee;
9, Ole Miss;
14, Austin Peay;
20, at Arizona;
23, Middle Tennessee;
28, Lamar;

January -
4, Cincinnati;
11, at Houston*;
13, at Southern Miss*;
16, UAB*;
20, at East Carolina*;
24, Tulsa*;
27, Southern Miss*;
31, at UCF*

February -
3, SMU*;
8, at UAB*;
10, Tulane*;
14, at Tulsa*;
17, at Gonzaga;
22, Rice*;

March -
1, at UTEP*;
3, at SMU*;
7-10, Conference USA Tournament

* Conference USA Game

ESPN's Andy Katz on Memphis

Tigers Have Something Good Going


Conference USA remains defined by Memphis.

When the league's marquee team can be just as good, if not better, after losing three players to the NBA draft (and only one was a senior), then you know you've got something good going. Add in the news this week that senior Jeremy Hunt is back on the squad and the Tigers are ready to make another deep run.

How deep? Well, head coach John Calipari isn't ready to say Final Four, No. 1 seed, or even Elite Eight, but he isn't shy about promoting this squad, either. His quick comment upon learning that Hunt was eligible was, "it's on, now.''

What's on? The Tigers are as a national player. Every returning coach talked to mentioned that you could take a pick of players among Memphis' marquee returnees for a potential league player of the year, and Calipari agrees.

"Chris Douglas-Roberts, Antonio Anderson and Robert Dozier all have a chance to be player of the year,'' Calipari said. "I know Morris Almond (of Rice) does, too. No one is going to pick us to be as good as we [were last season], but we will be.

"We're going to be better than people think,'' Calipari said. "We can just come out and play with anybody. There were other years when we were picked high and we knew that we were that good. We want to make a statement and we can make one."

The reason this season is that Calipari has a rotation that can go deep. Douglas-Roberts, Anderson, Dozier, Andre Allen, Joey Dorsey, Willie Kemp, former Florida signee Doneal Mack and more give the Tigers up to 10 players who could go in and contribute without hesitation.

The Tigers will play a big-time schedule as always, with teams like Arizona and Gonzaga dotting the slate. That's after the Maui Invitational, where the Tigers are in a field with UCLA, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, DePaul, Purdue and Oklahoma.

If everything breaks the way Calipari thinks it can, losing Darius Washington, Rodney Carney and Shawne Williams actually might have little effect. That's saying something for a program that seemed to have lost its way prior to Calipari's hiring.

Dick Vitale on Univ of Memphis

Happy in Memphis

August 29, 2006

Isn't it refreshing when a coach comes out and talks positively about their team! A lot of times these days coaches are so cautious when evaluating their squads. They are not overly optimistic when looking at their personnel.

That's why I loved it when I read Memphis coach John Calipari's comment in a recent interview with's Andy Katz. Calipari was enthusiastic looking ahead to this year's squad. He is excited and he flat-out said his team will be good. The Tigers lost Rodney Carney, Darius Washington and Shawne Williams, but this program is not a one-hit wonder. That is why Memphis can sustain success.

Calipari provides the leadership with his enthusiasm and energy and it filters down to everyone in the program. He has good reason to be thrilled with the talent he has. Memphis has talent that has waited for its chance to shine big-time. This squad is still the favorite in Conference USA because of players like Chris Roberts-Douglas, Robert Dozier, Joey Dorsey and company. Antonio Anderson and Andre Allen will be factors in the backcourt.

Memphis also has some incoming talent to make a difference.

Let me tell you, Calipari knows how to motivate and build a winner, just like he did at the University of Massachusetts. It also doesn't hurt to have a multi-year contract and the support of the community and the administration. Calipari has been successful there the past six seasons. Memphis is going to have another special year, after being just one step away from the Final Four last season.

Keep an eye on Calipari's team again this year.

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

More on New Tiger Assistant Jose "Chuck" Martin

Calipari Hires St. John's Assistant

Jose “Chuck” Martin, an assistant at St. John’s University the past two seasons, has been hired as an assistant men’s basketball coach at the University of Memphis, head coach John Calipari announced Tuesday. The 2006-07 campaign will be Martin’s eighth year as an assistant, as prior to St. John’s he also served on the staffs at Drexel, UMass and Manhattan.

“Chuck brings great experience to our staff,” said Calipari. “He worked with a close friend of mine (and former Calipari assistant) in Bruiser Flint at UMass and Drexel.

“He’s a tremendous recruiter, and that has been evident the last two years at St. John’s. Chuck’s recruiting ties around the country, and especially in New York, will prove beneficial for the our program.”

Mike DeCourcy, The Sporting News national college basketball writer, added: “Chuck Martin’s background is all class. He has worked with some of the finest people in the business, from Bruiser Flint to Norm Roberts and all the way back to his high school days in the New York Catholic League. He’ll bring a wealth of contacts to Memphis and will help the Tigers continue their advance on the national stage.”

Martin was a key recruiter on the St. John’s staff the past two seasons, helping the Red Storm bring in fresh talent. Some dividends of Martin’s work at St. John’s were seen in two signature victories for the Red Storm in 2005-06. In mid-January, St. John’s upset No. 9/9 and then-undefeated Pittsburgh 55-50 and followed with a 68-56 win over No. 17/15 Louisville. As a result of the two upset victories, the Red Storm were honored as college basketball’s Team of the Week by several national media outlets.

“It’s an honor to join the staff here at Memphis, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with John Calipari and the staff,” Martin said. “I’m looking forward to being a part of the Memphis family.

“St. John’s will always be special to me because I grew up in New York City. It was a great experience working with Coach (Norm) Roberts at St. John’s. They are turning the corner there, and they’ll do well this year.”

Prior to St. John’s, Martin was an assistant coach at Drexel for head coach Bruiser Flint, who served as an assistant for Calipari at UMass in the 1990s. During his time with the Dragons, Martin was involved in all aspects of the basketball program, including national recruiting, working with the team’s guards on skill development, scouting and game preparation.

“I’ve known Coach Calipari for a few years, and I also worked for Bruiser Flint so I’m familiar with what they do,” said Martin. “I’ve followed Coach Calipari’s career from the time he was at UMass through his stint with the NBA’s New Jersey Nets and now with the program here at Memphis. Coach Calipari’s done a tremendous job and I’m really excited to be a part of it.”
Prior to working at Drexel, Martin worked with Flint at UMass during the 2000-01 season, when the Minutemen advanced to the Atlantic 10 conference championship game.

Martin began his collegiate coaching career as an assistant at Manhattan College during the 1999-2000 season under head coach Bobby Gonzalez. Martin’s strong roots in New York City helped land All-MAAC players Mussy Green, Jared Johnson and 2004 NBA second round draft pick Luis Flores.

Martin attended Champlain (Vt.) Junior College, where he captained a pair of NJCAA Tournament teams, before completing his career at Monmouth University. At Monmouth, Martin played the point guard position and averaged 7.1 points and 2.0 assists for his career. Martin is a 1993 graduate of Monmouth with a degree in communications.

Martin and his wife, Lee, have three children: a daughter, Ashley-Monet (8), and two sons, Jordan (3) and Justin (1).

Profile: Jose "Chuck" Martin, Assistant Coach

Jose "Chuck" Martin

Position: Assistant Coach
Alma Mater: Monmouth '93

Another native New Yorker on St. John's head coach Norm Roberts' staff, assistant coach Jose "Chuck" Martin is entering his seventh season in the college ranks and his second on the St. John's bench.

A key recruiter on the St. John's staff, Martin played a major role in helping the Red Storm bring in fresh talent - first when Roberts and his staff took the reins and then over the course of the past season when the team's needs were assessed.

Martin came to St. John's after spending three seasons as an assistant coach at Drexel University. Martin was involved in all aspects of the Drexel basketball program, including national recruiting, working with the team's guards on skill development, scouting and game preparation.

In his three years at Drexel, the Dragons reached the conference championship game once, and made two postseason appearances. Martin played a major role in the development of point guard Eric Schmieder, an All-Colonial Athletic Association performer, and also helped recruit and develop Bashire Mason, who was named the league's defensive player of the year. It was the first time a freshman had won the award in the CAA.

Prior to working at Drexel, Martin worked with head coach James "Bruiser" Flint at Massachusetts during the 2000-01 season, when the Minutemen advanced to the Atlantic 10 conference championship game.

Martin began his collegiate coaching career as an assistant at Manhattan College during the 1999-00 season under Head Coach Bobby Gonzalez. Martin's strong roots in New York City helped land all conference players Mussy Green, Jared Johnson and 2004 NBA second round draft pick Luis Flores. Those three players helped earn the Jaspers a reputation as one of the top mid-major programs in the country over the last several years.

On The Way Up

Before he started his career in college coaching, Martin established strong relationships on the East Coast with several of the top high schools, prep schools and AAU coaches as the camp director for the Eastern Invitational Basketball Camp.

The Bronx native has close ties to the New York City basketball community, working as an assistant coach at national-powers St. Raymond's and LaSalle Academy. Martin was an assistant at LaSalle from 1993-95, when he worked with former St. John's standout Ron Artest, as well as future NBA player Shamgod Wells. While coaching at St. Ray's, Martin tutored former NBA center Ernest Brown, All America and Virginia standout Majestic Mapp.

Martin, who played at St. Raymond's for three years, was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 1998.

Martin attended Champlain (Vt.) Junior College, where he captained a pair of NJCAA tournament teams, before completing his career at Monmouth University. At Monmouth, Martin played the point guard position and averaged 7.1 points and 2.0 assists for his career. Martin is a 1993 graduate of Monmouth with a degree in communications.

Martin and his wife Lee have three children, an eight-year old daughter, Ashley-Monet, two sons, Jordan (3) and Justin, born Feb. 3, 2005.

St. John's Asst Coach Jose "Chuck" Martin Joins the Memphis Staff

Red Storm Sports News
Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Jose “Chuck” Martin To Take Position At Memphis

Published: August 29, 2006

Queens, NY, St. John’s head men’s basketball coach Norm Roberts announced on Tuesday that assistant Jose “Chuck” Martin will take a coaching position on the University of Memphis basketball staff, and that Director of Basketball Operations Chris Casey and Head Team Manager Will Lanier will move into new positions for the Red Storm, effective immediately. Roberts will fill the vacant position on his staff at a later date, most likely following the 2006-07 season.

“Chuck did a great job for St. John’s basketball for the last two years, and we wish he and his family all the best as he moves into his new position,” said Roberts. “This is just an indicator of how our basketball program is getting better. We knew we had a great staff in place, and that we would probably not be able to keep everyone all together for long.”

Jeremy Hunt Says He Is Different Now

Formerly troubled Tiger says he's 'different now'

By Jim Masilak, Memphis Commercial Appeal
September 6, 2006

Still beaming following his recent reinstatement to the University of Memphis men's basketball team, Jeremy Hunt said Tuesday he has "got to be one of the happiest men in Memphis." In his first interview since having his "permanent" dismissal lifted by university president Shirley C. Raines, athletic director R.C. Johnson and Tigers coach John Calipari, Hunt told The Commercial Appeal he has only himself to blame for his troubles but is "different now" and hopes to "make everybody in the city of Memphis proud."

"I'm definitely happy to be back," Hunt said. "I'm just trying to be a leader now, whether it's on the court or off the court, whether I play five minutes or 25 minutes. I'm gonna give it my all and play hard in practice and do what he (Calipari) tells me and we'll go from there. "I know I did this to myself. I knew I couldn't blame anybody. But I'm different now. I've grown up and I can tell the younger guys, 'You don't want to go that way. You don't want to end up like that. You don't want to get in trouble for nothing dumb.'"

A senior guard and former Craigmont High standout, Hunt was kicked off the team last October following a pair of off-the-court incidents, one of which involved an alleged assault of his ex-girlfriend, former Lady Tiger basketball player Tamika Rogers.

Then, following a late-night fight on Beale Street that left the player with a broken hand, Calipari announced that the 6-5, 210-pound Hunt had been "permanently dismissed" from the program.

Hunt was allowed to keep his scholarship.

Reluctant to cut ties with the program and hopeful he might be given another chance, he continued to attend Tiger practices and home games.

He also continued to work out regularly at the Finch Center with director of performance enhancement Richard Hogans.

Hunt said Calipari was contacted by some unnamed schools expressing interest in him following his dismissal, but he chose to remain at the UofM.

"I came and stayed and practiced and went to every game just for the passion, for the love. I didn't want to leave," Hunt said. "I was kicked off the team but I didn't want to have nothing to do with the team. They're my teammates."

As the 2005-06 season progressed, Hunt said he approached Calipari about his future.

"I told Coach (I wanted to come back). I put it in his ear a while back before the season ended," Hunt said. "I didn't want to bother him too much because they had a nice little season going."
Following Hunt's graduation in August with an undergraduate degree in University College/African-American community and sports education, Calipari arranged for the player to meet with Raines and make his case for reinstatement.

"I had to go in and put my pride to the side and talk to her," Hunt said. "I told her I graduated and I wanted to make everybody in the city of Memphis proud of me. I wanted to come back and show everybody I'm a nice young man."

Had the UofM not taken him back, Hunt could have taken advantage of a new NCAA provision allowing student-athletes who have completed their undergraduate requirements with eligibility remaining to transfer and be eligible to play immediately.

"If this wouldn't have worked out, I'm pretty sure I would have had other options," said Hunt, adding that he had not been in direct contact with other schools. "But everything worked out like I planned it."

While Hunt understands there are those who do not support his reinstatement, he believes he has paid a heavy price for his actions.

In addition to missing the '05-06 season -- which ended a game shy of a trip to the Final Four -- Hunt faced charges of assault with bodily harm relating to the alleged incident with Rogers on Jan. 10, 2005. The charges are due to be dropped on Feb. 27 if he continues to meet the requirements of a pre-trial diversion program.

"After a year of watching a team go to the Elite Eight, knowing that's my team, that was real tough," he said. "But I did it to myself and that was my punishment."

Although Hunt said he hasn't paid much attention to the public reaction to his reinstatement, he is anxious about the reception he'll receive the first time he walks back onto the floor at FedExForum.

"I really don't know what it will be but I'm hoping it will be good. If it's bad, I've got to be a man about it," he said. "There's always gonna be people saying negative things. You have to take those negative things and say, 'Well, they don't know you, so of course they're gonna go off what they heard about you.' But I'm not a bad person."

Friday, September 01, 2006

Tigers Hire Former Depaul and NBA Guard Rod Strickland to Staff

Calipari hires ex-NBA guard for staff

By Jim Masilak, Memphis Commercial Appeal
August 31, 2006

University of Memphis men’s basketball coach John Calipari on Thursday confirmed the hiring of former NBA point guard Rod Strickland as the Tigers’ new assistant coordinator of basketball operations. The 40-year-old Strickland, a native of New York City and a former DePaul standout, played for eight teams during his 17-year NBA career, most notably the New York Knicks, the then Washington Bullets and the Portland Trail Blazers.

A first-round draft pick by the Knicks in 1988, Strickland went on to average 13.2 points and 7.3 assists per game before retiring following the 2004-05 season. "He may have been the best point guard in the league who didn’t have the big name. He could drive and get in the lane and do what we’re trying to do here," Calipari said. "He’ll be a great resource for these guys even if he’s not in a coaching position."

Strickland, who now lives in Maryland, was at the Finch Center on Thursday as the Tigers began two weeks of individual workouts.

He will assume the duties, if not the title, of former coordinator of basketball operations Milt Wagner, who left last month to join former U of M assistant Tony Barbee’s staff at Texas-El Paso.

Calipari has yet to determine the hierarchy in his revamped operations staff, where Andy Allison is in line for a possible promotion and former U of M point guard Shyrone Chatman was hired earlier in the week.

Strickland’s ties to Calipari date to the coach’s NBA days with the New Jersey Nets and Philadelphia 76ers.

Strickland has attended a number of Tiger games in the past and it was his relationship with former Tiger forward Arthur Barclay that helped him land his new job. Strickland struck up a friendship with Barclay and former Tiger Dajuan Wagner while they were playing at Camden (N.J.) High.

"I got a phone call from (Barclay) saying that Coach was interested in hiring me," Strickland said. "I called (Calipari) about two seconds after that. Coach told me about the opportunity. I was listening but I was ready to say, ‘Yeah.’ All he had to say was, ‘Do you want the job?’"

Strickland, who said he is still about a year and a half away from earning his undergraduate degree — he left DePaul following his junior season — began taking courses at the U of M on Thursday.

He needs his degree before he can think about becoming a full-time college assistant.

"That’s the biggest challenge — just being back in class with young people. Even now my stomach is a little funny," Strickland said. "I played in front of 20,000 people and I’m nervous about going to class."