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Friday, May 09, 2008

Pastner accepts offer to join Tigers' basketball staff

Pastner accepts offer to join Tigers' basketball staff
By Dan Wolken
Thursday, May 8, 2008

Josh Pastner will join the University of Memphis basketball staff as an assistant coach and lead recruiter, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

Though Pastner has accepted the job in principle, the university can't officially announce his hiring until it finishes a formal interview process, as required by state regulations. An announcement might not happen until next week, according to a source.

Reached Thursday afternoon, coach John Calipari declined comment.

Pastner, 30, comes to Memphis from Arizona, where he has been on staff since 2001. A walk-on as a player at Arizona, Pastner quickly moved up the coaching ranks and was instrumental in the Wildcats' recruitment of players such as Chase Budinger, Jerryd Bayless and Jordan Hill. Pastner recently was ranked No. 7 among assistant coaches nationally in a poll conducted by Jeff Goodman of

A native of Houston, Pastner has strong recruiting ties to Texas, where his father, Hal, runs youth basketball programs.

Pastner has a reputation as a relentless networker, said an industry source who recalled meeting Pastner at a basketball camp and receiving a card from him the next week.

Pastner leaves an Arizona staff that has been in a state of upheaval over the past year.

Coach Lute Olson took a leave of absence in 2007-08 but is returning next season and has reshaped his bench. Last week, Arizona did not renew the contract of assistant Miles Simon.

Earlier this week, Arizona hired Mike Dunlap as associate head coach. Pastner was hoping to be named to that position, but once he was passed over, his decision to leave Arizona was all but sealed.

Pastner essentially takes the position formerly held by Derek Kellogg, who left last month to become head coach at UMass. There is some question about how Calipari will fill out the rest of his staff.

The assistant's position vacated by Chuck Martin, who became head coach at Marist last month, could go to Rod Strickland. Or, Calipari could hire another veteran assistant and assign Strickland to the open director of basketball operations position formerly held by Tyrone Weeks, who followed Martin to Marist.

Memphis, according to sources, was formally interviewing candidates for its basketball openings on Thursday, which is why Pastner's hiring may not be announced for several days.

Etc.: Devin Ebanks, a 6-8 forward from New York, will arrive in town tonight for his official visit. Ebanks is the top uncommitted player in the class of 2008, ranked No. 11 by Memphis hopes Ebanks will become the fifth player to join its recruiting class, which already includes guard Tyreke Evans, point-forward Wesley Witherspoon, forward Matt Simpkins and forward Angel Garcia.

Ebanks initially signed with Indiana but was released from his letter-of-intent after coach Kelvin Sampson was fired in February. He is also considering West Virginia, Rutgers and Texas.

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