Friday, April 24, 2009
Dan Wolken - The head-scratcher, Nolan Dennis
Posted by Dan Wolken
Out of all the recruiting fallout in Tigerland lately, the one I still can’t understand is Nolan Dennis.
Dennis, the former Memphis signee, made the switch to Baylor today according to Scout.com. This one has puzzled me since Day 1. Every other move out of this makes sense.
- Will Coleman staying with Memphis makes sense. He will start at center here for the next two years and be in a situation where he’ll have a chance to be a future pro.
- Darnell Dodson going to Kentucky makes sense. He was Orlando Antigua’s guy all the way from Pitt. (Though I still think Kentucky will recruit over him in the next year or two, Dodson is badly needed at Kentucky for next season).
- Xavier Henry going to Kansas makes sense. Both his parents went there, and it was his second choice before he signed with the Tigers.
- DeMarcus Cousins (verbal commit) following Calipari to Kentucky makes sense. The key guy in the Cousins recruitment was Bilal Batley, the former assistant recruiting coordinator/graduate manager at Memphis. Calipari made sure that Batley wasn’t going to escape his grasp when he made the move to Kentucky.
But Nolan Dennis makes no sense. What I believe happened with Dennis is that he felt burned by Calipari (and Josh Pastner by association) and basically wanted a clean break. The best place for Dennis, however, would have been Memphis. Dennis is a good player, but the reality is he probably isn’t ready mentally or physically to play right away at a high-major level. In fact, he’s probably not ready physically to play for Memphis next season in C-USA. Before Calipari left for Kentucky, he actually was planning to propose putting Dennis into a prep school somewhere because the former Memphis staff did not believe he would be able to contribute in 2009-10.
Yet for whatever reason, when Calipari went to Kentucky, the Dennis family thought he would be wanted at Kentucky. That wasn’t the case. Given the current situation, Pastner would have been happy to retain Dennis, who likely would have gotten playing time immediately and done fairly well down the road. I’m not sure the Baylor situation is going to flatter him nearly as much, or as quickly.
- Meanwhile, on another topic, I know Memphis fans aren’t really in the mood right now to root for Calipari/Kentucky in the recruiting wars these days. But I think it would behoove Memphis fans to hope John Wall goes to Kentucky. If the point guard dominoes fall the right way, the Tigers could end up very happy with the way this thing plays out. And if the Tigers get the right point guard next season, you’re talking about a top 15, top 20 caliber starting lineup.
Just something to keep in mind.