Memphis Tigers 2008 Basketball Recruits
By MFSKEN | May 30, 2008
The verdict is in and Rivals.com ranked Memphis’ four-man recruiting class No. 5 in the country behind UCLA, Kansas, Wake Forest and Louisville. Here’s a look at this year’s class.
Angel Garcia (ESPN150-61; Scout.com-19; Rivals.com-47)
Height: 6-11 Weight: 210 PPG: 16.1 Position: Power Forward
Either Angel has grown quite a bit of late or nobody really knows the true height and weight of Angel Garcia. Depending on the source he ranges in height from 6-9 to 6-11 and in weight from 190 to 210 pounds.
Angel committed to Memphis on September 2, 2007 over Indiana, Iowa, Louisville and Wisconsin. The native of Puerto Rico played for East Chicago Central High School. His English is okay but I don’t look for a lot of television interviews.
In reviewing the Nike Hoop Summit, Draft Express noted…Garcia displayed his nice perimeter shooting stroke during the game, but failed to really make an impression during the game. The small forward has legit size and should make an impact at Memphis next season with his ability to space the floor. Throughout the week in practices, he switched it up some by showing solid ball-handling and finishing ability at the hoop, but he wasn’t faced with any chances to show these skills off during the game.
Defensively, Garcia seems slow laterally to guard wing players, and lacks the bulk to really have a chance at the four right now. With added bulk, he could develop into a nicely skilled combo-forward. His understanding of the game also seems a bit behind the curve at this point in time, but his shooting should get him immediate minutes at Memphis.
Matt Simpkins (ESPN150-NR; Scout.com-29; Rivals.com-80)
Height: 6-9 Weight: 200 Position: Power Forward
Matt committed to the Tigers on January 5th. He also considered Washington, Florida, Connecticut and Georgetown.
Landing Simpkins helped to absorb a blow last summer when twin forwards Marcus and Markeiff Morris of Philadelphia de-committed and ultimately decided to sign with Kansas.
Matt is an athletic and hardnosed forward. His game has made strides as his body catches up to his talents. Simpkins is a good looking athlete who can score down low and get out and run the floor.
Matt must continue to develop his post skills and play with more effort and desire.
Tyreke Evans (ESPN150-4; Scout.com-2; Rivals.com-6)
Height: 6-6 Weight: 190 PPG: 34.1 Position: Shooting Guard
Tyreke visited Memphis on February 23rd - the day the Tigers lost their only game of the season to cross-state rival Tennessee. During the game Tyreke saw first hand how starters minutes were stretched during the epic battle. Tyreke has begun working with a track coach in an attempt to get used to playing at the Tigers’ pace.
Evans is a special player. He is generally considered one of the top 5 players in the country and he chose the Tigers over Villanova and Texas. During his press conference on April 16th which was carried live on ESPN U, Tyreke was flanked by his brother and high school coach.
Tyreke is a big time scorer on the wing. He has excellent 3-point range and also exhibits an ability to use his body to create his own shot. Tyreke is very smooth with the ball, has a tremendous feel for the game and is also an excellent passer.
The Tiger coaching staff will go to work on his rebounding and decision making.
Wesley Witherspoon (ESPN150-72; Scout.com-13; Rivals.com-34)
Height: 6-7 Weight: 185 PPG: 18.6 Position: Small Forward
Wesley visited Memphis on April 26th, just three weeks after the Tigers lost to Kansas in the title game. It wasn’t as though he hadn’t heard all about the Tigers though. The versatile 6-7 small forward had already received an earful from future Tiger Tyreke Evans at the Jordan Brand Classic all-star game in New York.
Wesley chose Memphis on May 1st over Colorado, Texas and Virginia.
Wesley is a multi-skilled player who can defend four positions and even play point guard. You may recall Michigan State, Texas and UCLA all struggling with the Tigers length and athleticism on the perimeter and Wesley brings just that.
ESPN’s Recruiting Coordinator Antonio Williams thinks Witherspoon is a perfect fit for the Tigers. “Wesley gives the Tigers a versatile, athletic presence on the wing,” Williams said. “He has the skills and upside of a superstar but the attitude of a very humble young man. If he remains grounded, Memphis coach John Calipari has the coaching expertise to help develop him into a star at Memphis.”
“He has a very quick first step and good ball-handling ability for his height, which makes him a good penetrator,” Williams said. “Once in the paint, he has the leaping ability to explode over defenders and finish with a dunk. Witherspoon’s jump shot continues to improve as he adds range on the perimeter. He also has impressive passing skills for his size and loves to set teammates up for their shot. His long arms, quick reflexes, and good lateral speed make him a premier defender with the ability to guard all three perimeter positions. Witherspoon will develop into a star if he continues to add strength and muscle to his frame in addition to improving his jump shot.”