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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Pastner to Memphis, where does that leave possible UK recruits?

Pastner to Memphis, where does that leave possible UK recruits?

April 6th, 2009 Filed Under: Cats Tags: demarcus cousins, john calipari, john wall, josh pastner, Memphis Tigers, nolan dennis, xavier henry

So, Josh Pastner is not going to be an assistant at UK. However, if you somehow allow that to dampen your optimism about John Calipari as the coach of Kentucky…well, you shouldn’t. UK hired John Calipari, not Josh Pastner, and while it would have been nice to have Pastner on the staff for a year or two, that’s the longest he would have been around.

Is it possible that Pastner presence would have made a difference in one of the recruits that UK is after for next year? Maybe. Is it likely? I doubt it. Where Pastner could make a difference is in retaining guys who signed with Memphis like Xavier Henry and Nolan Dennis. I don’t think he’s going to be able to grab DeMarcus Cousins or John Wall away from the big boys.

Let’s take a look at these four guys and where they are now that the dust has settled a bit after Coach Cal’s arrival.

John Wall-Wall has targeted April 18th as the day he will narrow his list. That’s coming up soon folks. No one can seem to get a handle on his recruitment. Some think he’s a Duke lean because he wants to stay close to his sick mother. Some think he’s a UK lean because he wants to follow Coach Calipari. Some think UNC is going to swoop in at the last moment and steal him away. Kansas, Miami, Baylor, and NC State are still lurking as well. What we do know is that this is a kid who is a program changer, even though he’s only a one year player. He is priority number one for both UK and Duke, and if I had to guess, I say it will be one of those two schools, and I don’t think he fits in at Duke. However, his family considerations could loom large.

DeMarcus Cousins-There has been some buzz yesterday and today that a decision from Cousins could be forthcoming (as in early this week). When the Calipari thing first broke, my gut was that Cousins would end up elsewhere. However, I have been slowly coming to the other side of the fence has time as passed. I really haven’t heard any other schools emerge for his services, so I have to think UK is the favorite at this point. However, there is some consternation over the fact that Josh Pastner was involved in Cousins recruitment to Memphis. I think, though, that a kid ultimately commits to a head coach and a school, not an assistant. We’ll see if Pastner can work his magic.

Xavier Henry-Honestly, I always thought Henry was a long shot, and Pastner taking the Memphis job doesn’t change that, it just makes him a long shot for a different reason. People are talking, and word is that Henry’s father, Carl, may be in line for a position on Pastner’s staff at Memphis. Add to that the fact that Xavier’s brother, CJ, would have trouble transferring without sitting out a year, and he spent last year at Memphis. Kansas has gone from losing out on Henry to Memphis, to the favorite for Henry, to looking like they very well could lose out to Memphis after all.

Nolan Dennis-Something always made me think Dennis would end up at Memphis, even after Calipari’s departure, and I think Pastner being named as coach makes it even more likely for him to hold to his Letter of Intent.

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