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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Elite point guard Eric Bledsoe will visit Memphis Tigers

Elite point guard Eric Bledsoe will visit Memphis Tigers
By Dan Wolken, Memphis Commercial Appeal
Originally published 11:12 a.m., April 29, 2009

With the nucleus Josh Pastner expects to have in his first season as head coach, the University of Memphis is probably an elite point guard away from being one of the top college basketball teams in the country again.

As luck would have it, an elite point guard might be in town this weekend to check out the Tigers’ program.

Memphis is expecting Eric Bledsoe, one of the nation’s top point guard prospects, to arrive Thursday for an official visit, according to a source.

Bledsoe, who led Birmingham (Ala.) Parker to an upset over DeMarcus Cousins’ Mobile LeFlore team in the Alabama state semifinals in February, is ranked No. 23 by Rivals.com.

Of course, the Tigers have plenty of competition to land Bledsoe, who is one of the few difference-makers at any position still available in the senior class. Former Memphis coach John Calipari is trying to lure Bledsoe to Kentucky, though it appears Bledsoe would be a backup plan in case Calipari fails to sign top-ranked point guard John Wall.

Getting Bledsoe on campus would be a major coup for the new Memphis staff, which desperately needs a point guard next season. As things currently stand, Memphis expects Shawn Taggart to pull out of the NBA Draft and return for his senior year, joining junior college star Will Coleman in a formidable frontcourt. Memphis also will return Wesley Witherspoon, Roburt Sallie and Doneal Mack on the wings and add skilled 6-10 forward Angel Garcia, who sat out last season due to academics.

Memphis is also a finalist for Latavious Williams, a 6-7 forward from Starkville, Miss., who is rated among the top 20 players in the senior class by Rivals.com.

Tigers freshman Simpkins to leave basketball program

Tigers freshman Simpkins to leave basketball program
By Dan Wolken, Memphis Commercial Appeal
Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Matt Simpkins’ basketball career at the University of Memphis is over.

Simpkins, a 6-9 forward who was suspended in February for numerous off-court issues, left the program today and will transfer to another school.

Coach Josh Pastner said Simpkins’ departure was a mutual decision.

“We had been talking for the last few days, and Matt has felt it’s best for him to look elsewhere,” Pastner said. “Like I told Matt and his mom, we’re going to do everything we can to help assist him and make sure he finds the best program that’s right for him with the support and everything else you’re looking for athletically, academically and socially.”

Simpkins came to Memphis last fall with some potential athletically – he was the 80th-ranked prospect nationally in the class of 2008, according to Rivals.com – but a history of behavioral and academic problems. Simpkins, who grew up in Oakland, Calif., went to seven different high schools and prep schools before finding his way to Memphis.

Because of questions about his transcript, the NCAA did not declare him eligible to play until mid-December, and Simpkins made his debut in the Tigers’ seventh game of the season, against Georgetown.

Simpkins appeared in 14 games, averaging 5.8 minutes and 1.4 points. He did not play in his final game with the team, a Feb. 4 victory at SMU. Two days later, as the Tigers were set to leave Dallas for Spokane, Wash., and a game against Gonzaga, Simpkins was sent back to Memphis and suspended by former coach John Calipari for violating team rules.

According to multiple sources, Simpkins’ infractions included breaking curfew, missing classes, showing up late to team functions and general attitude issues.

Simpkins, according to those sources, was caught going out after curfew on the evening before a Jan. 30 game against Houston and did not play the next day. Simpkins was caught violating curfew again the next week in Dallas, prompting the suspension.

Calipari did not allow Simpkins to be around the team for the rest of the season, saying he was under a strict contract if he wanted to get back in the program. Pastner said he met with Simpkins several times after the coaching change.

“It was a mutual thing, very positive, and we wish him nothing but the best,” Pastner said.

Juco Darnell Dodson signs with UK

Junior-college player Darnell Dodson has signed to play basketball with the University of Kentucky, Coach John Calipari announced on Friday.

Dodson, originally from Greenbelt, Md., attended Miami Dade Community College last season, where he helped guide the Sharks to a Southern Conference Championship and a 26-2 regular-season record.

The 6-foot-7 All-Southern Conference small forward averaged 15.7 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 76.7 percent from free-throw line.

When Dodson was a high school senior, Prep Stars rated him as a top-100 national prospect.

New UK assistant Orlando Antigua originally recruited Dodson for Pittsburgh.

Dodson was enrolled and taking classes at Pitt during the summer and fall of 2007 before it was determined he was ineligible due to NCAA Clearinghouse issues. He transferred to Miami Dade in October 2007.

Dodson wanted to return to Pitt, but Big East rules prevented his return. So he went to Miami Dade.

Dodson committed to Memphis after a visit last October. After Calipari moved to Kentucky, Dodson re-opened his recruitment.

Dodson joins DeMarcus Cousins (Mobile, Ala.), Kentucky Mr. Basketball Jon Hood (Madisonville) and Daniel Orton (Oklahoma City, Okla.) as members of UK's 2009 signing class.

The late signing period runs from April 15 through May 20.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Will Josh Pastner Allow Matt Simpkins to Return?


Will Josh Pastner Allow Matt Simpkins to Return?

A reader brought up this interesting question that The Commercial Appeal's Dan Wolken also touched on slightly last Wednesday (Memphis Tigers recruit Xavier Henry will sign with Kansas; what else will happen?). Can Matt Simpkins come back to Memphis and, more importantly, will Josh Pastner allow Simpkins to return.

As best I can remember, Cal dismissed Simpkins for breaking team rules either on the Dallas trip to play SMU this season or just before that game. I definitely remember he did not take the trip to Spokane for the Gonzaga game which came after the team stayed in Dallas following the SMU game(to save some money).

Simpkins' work ethic was called into question by pundits and fans together. It is no shock that Cal wouldn't put up with poor effort in practice or off the court. When your running a top program, your not going to let a #8 or #9 (Freshman) player cause problems (Cal's reaction most assuredly would have been different if this behavior had come from (Freshman) Tyreke Evans, your #1 player).

Based on everything I've read or heard about Josh Pastner - he lives and breaths work ethic. I expect Josh will expect his players to show much of the same effort and passion that he does personally. If Josh doesn't see Simpkins putting forth this type of effort in life or on the court, I suspect we won't see him back.

Memphis fans should look at Simpkins as another recruit - a top 100 recruit coming out of the Patterson (NC) school in the class of 2008.

The following were comments on Simpkins from Rivals.com's Jerry Meyer after Memphis had signed him a year ago.

"There is no doubt that Simpkins has the athleticism that Memphis values. The question, though, is whether or not he has the ball skills to make an immediate impact at Memphis," Meyer said. "The Memphis offense is predicated on everyone but the center being able to put the ball on the floor and make plays. I have doubts that Simpkins is ready for this role. He does give Memphis an athletic player who can go get the ball, however."

What Simpkins lacks in skill, Angel Garcia picks up the slack, Meyer says. The Puerto Rico native is 6 feet 10 and has a game that is best suited for the perimeter.

"Garcia brings the ball skills to fit in with the Memphis offense," Meyer said. "He is good with the ball and can shoot it. If he builds his body up, he could do a lot of the things at the four that Dozier does for Memphis and is a better long range shooter than Robert Dozier. Garcia's challenge is whether or not he can defend and rebound at the level Memphis expects."

Meyer said he doesn't anticipate either freshman to make a big enough impact to help the Tigers return to the big stage next year. The two man class's impact will be felt down the road. "Simpkins gives them more rebounding and defending-wise. Garcia gives Memphis more of what it wants on the offensive side of the ball. Whichever one improves his weaknesses the most has the best chance to have an impact," Meyer said. "In the end, though, I expect it to be later in the year or maybe not until they are sophomores before they are really ready."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Allow Me To Be Cynical for a Moment


Cousins........Dennis........Henry..........and another Henry

Will Dodson be next to bolt?

Complements to Will Coleman for showing loyalty to Memphis.

Sporting News - Former Memphis hoops signee picks Baylor


Former Memphis hoops signee picks Baylor
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Posted By Brian McLaughlin 1:37 PM
By Brian McLaughlin
Sporting News

The John Calipari domino effect continued Thursday as one of his Memphis signees from the fall, Nolan Dennis, has now signed a letter of intent with Baylor. When Calipari left his Memphis coaching position to head to Kentucky, Dennis asked to be released from the scholarship he signed in November, and the Tigers granted it.

When Dennis re-opened the process, Baylor, UConn and Oklahoma formed his top three after it became apparent there would be room for him to follow Calipari to Kentucky.

Dennis is a 6-foot-5 shooting guard out of Richland (North Richland Hills, Texas). He is considered a four-star level prospect by two recruiting services.

"When I was there, I felt good chemistry with the team," Dennis told Rivals.com. "The coaching staff is great and the school is nice. From the gym to the locker rooms, it has the feel of a NBA team. I just had a really good feel about the situation there ... Baylor has players going to The League who are putting the school on the map," he said. "I want to come in and help take the program to the next level."

Sporting News - Henry brothers make it official: Kansas


Henry brothers make it official: Kansas
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Posted By Brian McLaughlin 1:02 PM
By Brian McLaughlin
Sporting News

The guessing games are over, as Xavier and C.J. Henry are now committed to Kansas' basketball program, the same program their father--Carl Henry--played in more than two decades ago. The Henrys made the announcement at Xavier's high school Thursday.

The two had been on board with Memphis before coach John Calipari left for Kentucky. After the coach's departure, they were both released from their scholarships and re-entered the recruiting process just in time for the NCAA's late national signing period for basketball. It lasts from April 15 to May 20.

Kentucky and Memphis were considered the only other serious contenders for the Henrys, and Kentucky didn't currently have enough scholarships to go around anyway.

Xavier Henry is a 6-foot-6 shooting guard from Putnam County (Oklahoma City). C.J. Henry is a 6-4 guard.

"I'm just excited about being able to take my game to the next level," Xavier Henry said Thursday. "(Kansas) Coach (Bill) Self is really excited, especially now that he has both of us. He asked me, are you sure? I wanted to play for a really good team."

Older brother C.J. Henry had spent one season on Memphis' roster with Calipari, following a short professional baseball career. He will not be on scholarship at Kansas, instead coming on as a preferred walk-on because former professional athletes are not allowed to take scholarship money.

"I'm just ready to chill out and have fun," Xavier Henry said. "The recruiting was very stressful. My dad (Carl, who was a captain on Kansas' 1983 and 1984 teams) wanted it to be over more than me and C.J. did. He was excited that we made up our mind."

Xavier Henry averaged 28.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and shot 44-percent on 3-pointers last year as a senior at Putnam City.

CBS Sports - Top prospect Henry picks Kansas over Calipari


Top prospect Henry picks Kansas over Calipari
April 23, 2009
CBSSports.com staff and wire reports

OKLAHOMA CITY -- John Calipari's move to Kentucky has cost him one of his prized recruits.

Oklahoma City high school star Xavier Henry announced Thursday that he would not follow Calipari after he left Memphis, and committed instead to play at Kansas.

'I've always dreamed of going to Kansas,' Xavier Henry says Thursday. (AP)
"I've always loved Kansas, I've always watched them and it's always been a dream school for me," said Henry, who is considered the third-rated prospect in the country by both Rivals.com and ESPNU.

Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com first reported Henry's decision on Wednesday.

In reversing course, Henry fell in line with family tradition. His parents, Carl and Barbara, both played basketball for the Jayhawks and his brother, C.J., originally committed to Kansas before he decided to pursue baseball after being a first-round pick by the New York Yankees.

Big brother ended up playing a role in Xavier's decision, too. With his education being paid for by the Yankees, C.J. walked on at Memphis and redshirted last season. Xavier was going to follow him until Calipari replaced the fired Billy Gillispie at Kentucky.

The Henrys believe that C.J. will be allowed to transfer to Kansas -- which beat Memphis in the 2008 national championship game -- and not sit out another season because he is not on scholarship.

Kansas coach Bill Self, admittedly "crushed" when the Henrys first committed to Memphis, said Xavier was the most highly regarded prospect he has signed.

"Some people may have him the first, the third, the sixth, the eighth," Self said in a teleconference. "We've recruited some other great players, but I don't think we ever recruited a prospect who was rated so high across the board for his entire high school career.

"There are few players in high school that possess the body, the strength, the explosion and the outside perimeter ability that Xavier has. You've got to defend him wherever he is on the floor.

Henry said he has "always dreamed of going to Kansas."

"But I took a step back for my brother at Memphis, and now that he's cleared to play anywhere, I'll get my chance to play at Kansas," he said.

Xavier Henry, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard, averaged 28.3 points and 6.5 rebounds. He shot 44 percent from 3-point range last season in leading Putnam City High School to the state title in the class that features Oklahoma's largest schools.

Putnam City also won the Class 6A title in Henry's freshman year, just after C.J. had moved on.

"Me and my brother, there's no separating us. I'd do anything for my brother," Xavier Henry said. "That's why I was going to go to college with him even if I wasn't into it as much as Kansas. I just wanted to be with my brother, and I want to spend as much time as I can with him."

He chose not to follow in the footsteps of DeMarcus Cousins, another top five prospect who followed Calipari from Memphis to Kentucky.

"It was tempting just because of (Calipari)," Xavier Henry said. "Me and my brother, I don't think we ever really followed Kentucky. We knew about the tradition, but we never actually followed them. Kentucky wasn't that much of a pull, but coach Cal was a big pull for us."

Once the combination of his brother, Calipari and a stocked roster at Memphis disintegrated, the attraction of following in his parents' footsteps was automatic for Xavier -- and C.J. was on board, too.

"I'm not really following him," C.J. Henry told reporters by phone. "We just wanted to play together."

Xavier Henry adds to a freshman class that already was ranked among the best in the country. With top players Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich also putting off a jump to the NBA to keep the Jayhawks' starting five in tact from a run to the NCAA tournament round of 16, Kansas becomes a front-runner for the national championship next season.

"I don't know how good we're going to be, but I think we're going to be pretty good," Xavier Henry said. "If everything falls in to place -- no injuries and stuff -- we have a chance to win it all."

Barbara Henry said she was confident C.J. would be allowed to play next season, and she's tickled that her sons will be together at her alma mater.

"I think it's great. I know Xavier's heart was with Kansas as well when he chose Memphis," she said. "It was just that ... he wanted the opportunity to play with his brother for once in his life. He's always loved Kansas, so to me it's no surprise."

One decision that will have to wait is whether Xavier Henry's first season at Kansas also will be his last before heading to the NBA.

"If it happens, it happens, but I just want to concentrate on winning the national championship next year," Xavier Henry said. "There's nothing more I like than winning, and winning the right way. I want to try my hardest to win and help my team win."

Dan Wolken - A warning for Josh Pastner and R.C. Johnson


A warning for Josh Pastner and R.C. Johnson
Posted by Dan Wolken

When John Calipari was at Memphis, the 11 other coaches in Conference USA used to call him “The Commissioner” behind his back because he wielded a bigger hammer than anybody in the league, including the real commissioner Britton Banowsky.

There were a lot of things that the other schools in C-USA wanted to do that Calipari flat-out vetoed because it wasn’t in the best interests of his program. He vetoed going to an East/West division format. He vetoed going to 18 league games. He vetoed travel partners for road games (in other words, a Thursday-Saturday format where you play two home games or two road games each week as a cost-saving measure).

Now that Calipari is gone, here’s a well-informed prediction. At the league meetings next month, some C-USA programs will try to run over Memphis and attempt to shoehorn in every bad idea that Calipari vetoed.

This will be a test for new coach Josh Pastner and athletic director R.C. Johnson. If they do what’s right for Memphis — which still carries the freight on the basketball side, like it or not — they will do anything necessary to defeat these bad ideas. And believe me, they are bad ideas. If Calipari knew anything, he knew the formula for maintaining national relevance in Conference USA. Messing with that formula would be disastrous for Memphis. And if it’s disastrous for Memphis, it will be disastrous for the league.

An attempt will be made by the lower-rung programs in Conference USA to bring Memphis down to their level. Just watch. We’ll see if Pastner and Johnson have enough juice to defeat them.

Dan Wolken - The head-scratcher, Nolan Dennis


The head-scratcher
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.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Former-Tiger Recruit Nolan Dennis Signs With Baylor

MemphisRoar - Latavious Williams- “The Total Package”


From MemphisRoar
Latavious Williams- “The Total Package”
Posted by TigerEye
On April - 22 - 2009

After just a few hours of catching up with Latavious Williams (interview here: Williams has final two), MemphisRoar had the privilege to speak with Latavious’ head coach, Carlos Wilson. Wilson, head coach at Humble (TX) Christian Life Academy, has played a huge role in the development of the Christian Life program, especially in the life of Latavious Williams.

As reported earlier, the Memphis staff visited with Williams this past weekend with his family in Starkville, MS. Coach Pastner then followed up his recent meeting with a visit to watch Williams practice on Tuesday. When asked if Latavious enjoyed the visit from the Memphis staff, Coach Wilson responded, “Latavious, from all indications from my conversations with him, said that it went really, really well. His parents really got a good feel with Josh Pastner, and they feel like he is exactly someone they can trust and they can entrust with their son for the next couple of years.”

When asked what is next for Latavious, now that his standardized tests have been completed, Wilson said, “He is taking a full course load with us, and he is also in some courses outside of our school, so that’s been his main focus and that’s kind of what is taking him so long, if you really think about it. But he’s really entrenched in his studies to get qualified, so he doesn’t have any hours in the day to sit down and really focus on where he’s going to go to school. I had to break it to him and say, ‘you know this thing is coming pretty up quick.’ So he is starting to focus more on the school (college) situation now, now that the high school and course work is coming to an end and he is meeting those requirements, so he is able to move on to the next thing.”

Since Williams has now completed his standardized tests and is wrapping things up academically, his focus now turns to recruiting. Although schools such as Georgetown, Baylor, Kansas State, Florida State, Kentucky, and Memphis are all interested in Williams, Latavious informed MemphisRoar earlier today that his list is now down to two– Georgetown and Memphis.

With Williams’ list down to two, MemphisRoar asked Coach Wilson what he thought made each school a good destination for Williams. After clarifying that he didn’t know that Williams cut his list to two schools, and thought that Kansas State was still on Latavious’ list, Coach Wilson had this to say about Georgetown and Memphis: “I just think the lure of the playing time is the thing he is looking at the most and to be in a system that allows him to be Latavious Williams, which is up-tempo, and have a little freedom. Georgetown doesn’t have anyone with his skill set, so that’s intriguing. Even though they are more of a half-court, Princeton offense type of system, but they would really like to get up and down the court a little more, and they don’t have any of those kind of players, so that’s kind of intriguing for him. And Memphis is intriguing from the standpoint that Josh (Pastner) promises to play somewhat similar to the style that they have had the recent success with in the past, so that’s intriguing. And then there’s playing time– with all of the guys that had committed and then left, there’s room for him to come in and get some minutes right away, so that’s intriguing.”

So just how does Coach Wilson view his star athlete? “I think with Latavious… the more he has to be that athlete that he is, I think the more successful he will be. And that is his game. We play really, really fast this year. We’re probably one of the higher scoring teams as far as high school basketball is concerned, and he really thrived in our system. He can get out on the wing and fill the lanes on the breaks and able to catch, finish. He has the total package when it comes to transition basketball. That’s his strong point, the faster, the better for him.”

At 6′7” 195 lbs, most recruiting services list Williams as a power forward, but that may not be the best way to describe Williams. Despite his listed position, Coach Wilson uses Williams as a 3 man in his fast-paced offense, allowing him to use Williams quite effectively.


“I think he’s a match-up problem either way, it just depends on what you need,” Coach Wilson told MemphisRoar. Coach Wilson then added, “And the wonderful thing about Latavious is that I played him at the 3, but I also would push him up to the 4 spot and bring in more of a natural guard. In either position he is comfortable and he doesn’t complain. He’ll play center if you ask him to! He just wants to win. If he can help the program succeed at the 4, he’ll go to work under the basket and get the boards and do all the things that are there; and if you want him on the wing, he has a good knock-down shot, one-dribble, two-dribble pull-ups, can get to the rack, he’s just a versatile basketball player.”

After speaking with Latavious and Coach Wilson, no definite date has been set concerning Williams’ college decision, but both informed us that a decision could be made in the next few weeks. Latavious would be a huge addition to the Tigers if chosen, and he would definitely see significant minutes as a freshman. Coach Pastner stressed his goal to get athletes during his press conference when named head coach, and there aren’t many greater athletes in the 2009 class than Latavious Williams.

*MemphisRoar would like to personally thank the generosity of Coach Carlos Wilson for his time in answering our questions.*

MemphisRoar - Latavious Williams has a Final Two


From MemphisRoar

Williams has a Final Two
Posted by Brooks On April - 22 - 2009

Latavious Williams, originally from Starkville, MS, throws down a rim-rocker
As we first reported earlier today, Josh Pastner visited 2009 SF prospect Latavious Williams. Williams, who is currently at Humble Christian Life Academy in Texas, is a top target for the Tigers and the heat is definitely being turned up in the final weeks of his recruitment.

“Josh came in yesterday and it went pretty well. He and I know each other really well. He just sat in on my practice and everything and we talked. He had to go back to Memphis though, but we talked later that night too,” said Williams when asked about how the visit went.

Going into today, the common schools mentioned in connection with Williams were Memphis, Baylor, Georgtown, and Kansas State, but he told us that that list of suitors has now been trimmed. “It’s Memphis and Georgetown. They’re my final two,” replied Williams.

When asked why those two are his final two, Williams said, “At Memphis, I can come in right away and play my style of play. Play fast. At Georgetown it’s the same type of thing. They are telling me and my coach they don’t have anyone at my spot. So I feel like I can go up there and make a big impact.”

Georgetown’s claim that the don’t have anyone at Williams’ spot took a small hit today when 6′8″ 215lbs Jerrelle Benimon committed to the Hoyas.

With so many people wondering if there will be a drop-off from Calipari’s ability and Pastner’s ability to recruit, Williams cleared the air and made a statement that should give Memphis fans confidence going forward that they got the right man for the job.

“I loved the decision of Coach Pastner becoming the new head coach. When Cal was there, I was mostly talking to Josh anyways,” Williams said. ” He just goes out and gets the best players. I think he’s a great and honest guy. That’s big for him to be moved up to the head coaching job.”

To give an insight into the type of player that the Tigers or the Hoyas may be getting, Williams wanted to relay a message to our readers.

“I feel like I can make an impact. My game is really an up and down style. I play fast. Get it up and down. I can shoot the outside jumper and I can finish at the rim,” added Williams.

In terms of a timeline, Latavious said, “I would say in the next two weeks or so. Maybe a week.”

Dan Wolken - Apparently, it’s big news in Kentucky today… …that Darnell Dodson will likely be heading their way


Apparently, it’s big news in Kentucky today…
Posted by Dan Wolken
…that Darnell Dodson will likely be heading their way.

Of course, I wrote this week ago. This has been in the works for some time. Anyone who thinks that this just popped up today because Xavier Henry is going to Kansas is kidding themselves.

And if anyone has any doubts about the obstacles Josh Pastner has been up against in his first couple weeks on the job, this should erase them. The good news is that Pastner got the guy he absolutely needed in Will Coleman. From the moment Pastner got the job, locking down Coleman was priority No. 1 for a couple different reasons. One, Memphis needed a legit big guy or else you’re looking at Pierre Henderson-Niles playing 30 minutes per game, something he has never done before and may not be equipped to do. Two, Coleman is an absolute stud. Having seen them play in person, I think Dodson is really good, but you can find big wing players who shoot 34% from the 3-point line. You can’t find guys like Coleman. There just aren’t a lot of 6-9, 260-pound guys anywhere who fly down the court and put their chin on the rim like this guy. He’s an absolute game-changer defensively and on the offensive glass and I think he’ll be a SportsCenter highlight regular when he gets to Memphis.

Dan Wolken - Memphis Tigers recruit Xavier Henry will sign with Kansas; what else will happen?


Memphis Tigers recruit Xavier Henry will sign with Kansas; what else will happen?
By Dan Wolken, Memphis Commercial Appeal
Wednesday, April 22, 2009

ANALYSIS:

Former University of Memphis signee Xavier Henry will hold a press conference Thursday announcing his intention to play for Kansas next season, according to a source close to the situation. His older brother, point guard C.J. Henry, will also transfer to Kansas from Memphis, where he was a walk-on last season but did not play because of injury.

Though Xavier Henry was not expected to honor his initial commitment to Memphis in the wake of John Calipari’s departure for Kentucky, making it official should set off some recruiting dominoes for the Tigers and a number of other programs across the country.

New coach Josh Pastner and assistant Glynn Cyprien have spent most of this week visiting prospects, but the April recruiting window ended today, meaning coaches can’t go on the road again until July.

Memphis, however, still has a roster to complete for next season so recruiting isn’t even close to done for the class of 2009. For some clarification of where Memphis stands, here are the top five questions of the day:

Q: What’s the status of the signed recruits?

A: When Pastner was handed the Memphis job on April 6, he acknowledged the possibility that all four of the signed recruits from last fall would choose to go elsewhere. Pastner successfully re-recruited one of them, Miami-Dade forward Will Coleman, to remain on board.

It appears as though the other three, however, will head elsewhere. Henry is set to go to Kansas and should make it official Thursday. Shooting guard Nolan Dennis immediately opened up his recruitment and is looking at Baylor, Oklahoma and Connecticut. Pastner is still working on forward Darnell Dodson, also at Miami-Dade, but all indications point to Dodson asking for his release and attempting to follow Calipari to Kentucky.

Q: So where does that leave Memphis for next season?

A: Not in ideal shape at the moment, but the news could be worse. As things stand today, freshman Tyreke Evans is expected to remain in the NBA Draft and junior Shawn Taggart is expected to be back next season. If it plays out that way, Memphis should have enough depth in the frontcourt with Coleman playing the center position and Taggart moving over to power forward. Pastner expects 6-10 freshman Angel Garcia to be academically eligible, and the Tigers also have rising senior Pierre Henderson-Niles coming back. Pastner is also keeping the door open for 6-9 freshman Matt Simpkins, who was suspended from the team in February, to return.

If the Tigers didn’t sign another player, the rest of the line lineup would feature Willie Kemp at point guard, a tandem of Roburt Sallie and Doneal Mack at shooting guard and Wesley Witherspoon at small forward.

Thus, the clear positions of need right now are at the point and on the wing where Memphis simply has no depth.

Q: What players are left for Pastner to recruit?

A: The problem is that few good players remain on the board. Pastner and Cyprien have been recruiting point guard Eric Bledsoe, an elite talent from Birmingham who would instantly solve a lot of problems. Bledsoe, however, is being targeted by every program that needs a point guard, including Kentucky, Florida and Cincinnati and there are questions about whether he will even qualify academically.

If Bledsoe doesn’t work out, Pastner will have to find a point guard somewhere — either a late-bloomer hidden in a prep school or from the junior college ranks. Miami-Dade point guard James Beatty and Chipola Junior College point guard Malcolm Armstead could both be in the mix.

Q: What else might happen on the recruiting trail?

A: Pastner is a strong contender to land 6-7 forward Latavious Williams, who is ranked No. 17 by Rivals.com but also comes with question marks about his eligibility. Pastner has also tried to get in the mix for guard Lance Stephenson, a consensus top-10 player who seemed to be headed for Kansas until Henry committed there. Stephenson will now have to re-consider his options, which include St. John’s and Maryland, but he might be open to overtures from the Tigers’ staff.

Another strong possibility for Pastner is bringing Chipola coach Greg Heiar on his staff as the director of basketball operations. Heiar has spoken with Pastner about the position, and if he came to Memphis, two or three of his players may follow. The top targets off that team include 6-7 forward Justin Brownlee (ranked No. 4 by JucoJunction) and 6-6 guard Torye Pelham.

Q: And where does Pastner stand with his staff?

A: Nothing has changed since last week, with Cyprien and Willis Wilson on board as assistants. The third assistant slot will likely go to Denver Nuggets lead scout Jack Murphy if he wants it after the NBA playoffs, and Heiar is the favorite to be director of basketball operations. Pastner said he wouldn’t deal with the rest of his administrative staff until after the April recruiting period.

— Dan Wolken: 529-2365

Now I've Seen Everything...........Please See SCOUPE ..CALIPARI CALIPARI UK COACH THEME SONG




I'm not even sure how to begin. You just have to see and hear it (it's on YouTube also!)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dan Wolken - Miami Dade big man keeps commitment to Memphis Tigers; Evans enters draft


Miami Dade big man keeps commitment to Memphis Tigers; Evans enters draft
By Dan Wolken, Memphis Commercial Appeal
08:32 p.m., April 20, 2009

Will Coleman, the 6-9 big man from Miami Dade Junior College, said tonight he will play at the University of Memphis next season and honor the letter-of-intent he signed last fall.

Coleman said he made the decision after meeting with new coach Josh Pastner on Monday in Miami.

“I’m sticking with my commitment,” Coleman said. “(Pastner) just told me about the style of play and his morals and standards and beliefs and stuff like that. I like him. I think he’s a real good guy. I can’t wait to get up there.”

Securing Coleman is a major victory for Pastner early in his tenure, since it assures at least one key member of the recruiting class that John Calipari built last fall. Coleman’s game is reminiscent of former Memphis forward Joey Dorsey, with almost unparalleled speed and leaping ability for a player of his size.

JucoJunction, a Web site affiliated with Rivals.com, ranks Coleman as the No. 2 player in the country at the junior college level.

“We’re really excited about Will remaining with the program,” Pastner said. “He’s the type of kid the city will embrace. Not only is he a really good student-athlete, but he’s an even better human being.”

Coleman, who only began playing basketball as a high school junior, signed initially with Arkansas-Little Rock but didn’t qualify. He headed instead to Miami-Dade, where he grew into a 260-pound physical specimen and began putting up double-doubles with regularity.

Former Memphis assistant Orlando Antigua, who followed Calipari to Kentucky, initially began recruiting Coleman to Pittsburgh when he coached there last spring. After Antigua joined Memphis’ staff, Coleman participated in Calipari’s elite camp last summer and committed shortly thereafter. Coleman will have two years of eligibility remaining.

After learning about Calipari’s departure, Coleman said he thought about looking at other schools but decided to "shut it down" on Monday after talking with his parents.

"Honestly, I was astounded about Calipari leaving, but I guess it’s all business," Coleman said. "Personally, that’s what I think this is. College basketball is just a big business and Calipari got a better offer, or maybe it was just a coach wanting to coach at Kentucky.

"I was astounded because I was like, 'How could you put together such an amazing recruiting class and it’s just gone.' I didn’t see anyone beating us next year, but hey, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do."

Coleman may ultimately be the only member of the original recruiting class who plays at Memphis, though Pastner is still recruiting shooting guard Xavier Henry and Miami-Dade forward Darnell Dodson. Pastner is also recruiting other players both in high school and the junior college ranks to fill out the roster.

EVANS ENTERS DRAFT

Freshman guard Tyreke Evans officially sent in his paperwork for the NBA Draft on Monday, though he had stated his intention to enter the draft weeks ago. Evans will not hire an agent, leaving open the remote possibility he could return as a sophomore. Evans is expected to remain in the draft if he projects to go in the lottery.

“I am putting my name in the draft and see what happens,” Evans said in a statement released by the U of M. “I will attend some workouts and see what feedback I receive. Once I have all the information available to me, I will sit down with my family and talk about what’s the next step to take – either to remain in the NBA Draft or return for another season of college basketball here at Memphis.”

Evans had a sensational season, scoring a team-high 17.1 points per game. Memphis had a 27-1 record after Evans moved to point guard, with the only loss coming against Missouri in the Sweet 16 – a game in which Evans scored 33 points on 12-of-25 field goals.

“We want him to have as much success as possible, and we hope he can get a chance to go as high in the draft as possible,” Pastner said. “He’s not signing with an agent. He’s keeping his options open, but the type of year he had, he’s earned the right to test the waters and see where his stock is. I’d be surprised if he didn’t end up being a lottery pick.”

Evans in draft to 'see what happens'


Evans in draft to 'see what happens'
ESPN.com

Memphis' Tyreke Evans will declare for the NBA draft, but will not sign with an agent and could return to the Tigers next season.

"I am pursuing what has been a dream of mine for a long time, and that is to play someday in the NBA," Evans said in a school-issued news release. "I am thankful to Coach [Josh] Pastner and my family and friends for their support.

"I am putting my name in the draft and see what happens. I will attend some workouts and see what feedback I receive. Once I have all the information available to me, I will sit down with my family and talk about what's the next step to take -- either to remain in the NBA draft or return for another season of college basketball here at Memphis."

Evans, a freshman, led Memphis to a No. 1 ranking and a trip to the Sweet 16, where the Tigers lost to Missouri. Evans led Memphis is scoring at 17.1 points per game. He also averaged 5.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dan Wolken - The Josh Pastner phenomenon


The Josh Pastner phenomenon
Posted by Dan Wolken

By every measure, this city should be suffering a severe John Calipari hangover right now. When the most successful coach in the history of the school leaves for Kentucky and takes at least parts of the greatest recruiting class in history with him, you’d expect the mood about Tiger basketball right now to be somewhere between depression and disinterest.

Yet, what I’ve perceived and observed around town over the last 10 days has been exactly the opposite. In so many small ways, it’s almost like the fervor and interest in this program has never been higher.

I just got back from the meet-and-greet with Josh Pastner for Tiger Scholarship Fund donors, and I was stunned at the turnout and what people were talking about. They held it in the Tower Room restaurant at the top of the Clark Tower, and the place was absolutely packed. You couldn’t find a place to stand in the main room, so they directed people to the other rooms and had them watch the presentation on televisions. Afterwards, I talked to Bill Lansden, who runs the TSF program, and asked how many donors they had lost since Calipari’s departure. “Just one,” Lansden said. Think about that. In nearly three weeks since Calipari left, the TSF people have been communicating with their donors to see where they stand on season tickets for next year. Only one has said for sure that he would not renew his seats for 2009-10 because Calipari isn’t here anymore. Obviously, the checks aren’t due yet, so Memphis may lose some more. But it doesn’t appear that there will be a mass exodus of support.

What’s going on out there? Why are people - even at a potentially low point for the program - still so fired up about Tiger basketball?

My sense is that there’s an element of freshness - unique to Josh Pastner - that people in Memphis are buying into. It’s his youth, it’s his energy, it’s his positive approach and the way he presents himself. But I think it’s also the clean break that Pastner represents –not just from Calipari himself but also from the era of cynisism in Tiger basketball. No more snarky comments about train tracks. No more poor-mouthing about how you’re not allowed to lose a game. In Josh Pastner’s world, there are no “Miserables.”

Now, we’ll see how this all plays out next April if the Tigers struggle next season. The attitude about Pastner may be different. But I can’t imagine anyone else Memphis could have hired generating the kind of enthusiasm and interest that Pastner already has in his first two weeks on the job.

MemphisRoar: Weekend Update : Staff and Recruiting


Weekend Update : Staff and Recruiting
Posted by MemphisRoar
April - 19 - 2009

MemphisRoar has been working the phone lines and emails all weekend to bring you the biggest updates. Here are a few tidbits that we have confirmed:

Eric Bledsoe - The Memphis and Kentucky staffs viewed Bledsoe Friday in his home town, Birmingham, AL. University of Memphis Head Coach Josh Pastner, along with newly hired Assistant Coach Glenn Cyprien, got a chance to watch Bledsoe and sit down with him and his high school coach, Maurice Ford.

Cyprien was known to have developed an excellent relationship with Bledsoe while at the University of Kentucky. In fact, our sources have indicated that Bledsoe was expected to commit to the University before Cyprien’s departure with former Head Coach Billy Gillespie.

MemphisRoar has learned that the University of Memphis is not only back on Bledsoe’s final list, but will be a huge player in the final decision. Additionally, MemphisRoar is waiting to hear back from Bledsoe himself regarding his Friday visitors but his cell phone has been shut off, so it’s a little hard to get him right now.

Daniel Orton - There has been wide-spread speculation that IF Orton opens his recruitment back up, the University of Memphis will get a serious look. This appears to be true. According to our sources, Orton is concerned with playing time at the University of Kentucky if Patrick Patterson decides to come back to college in place of opting for the NBA draft.

The Dribble-Drive-Motion offense, which will be ran next year at Kentucky, is not known for playing three players in the post position. Therefore, with the University of Kentucky having multiple high-caliber players playing the forward and/or center position, it would be difficult for Orton to find adequate playing time.

Orton and his father have a strong relationship with Glenn Cyprien, who assisted in his recruitment to the University of Kentucky. Orton’s desire to remain close to Cyprien will assist the Memphis Tigers.

In the end, Orton may decide on the exposure of Kentucky versus the playing time at Memphis (or possibly other schools). Although the Memphis staff has had zero contact with Orton, the opportunity of playing time and Orton’s relationship with Coach Cyprien will definitely give Memphis good position IF the recruiting battle opens back up to other schools.

Greg Heier - MemphisRoar has spoken with multiple sources that indicate that Coach Greg Heier of Chipola Junior College is very likely to be the new Director of Basketball Operations (DBO) at Memphis next season.

All interviews and other matters have been extremely positive. MemphisRoar was able to ask a person very close to Heier about his visit and was replied with, “he loved it!!”

Heier’s hire would produce multiple connections with players and could immediately produce high caliber division I players to the University of Memphis as early as 2009 season. His position as DBO would advance Memphis’ staff as having possibly the best DBO in college basketball.

MemphisRoar will continue to work to find the best information to present to our readers.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Memphis Roar Reports: Memphis Staff Visits Eric Bledsoe


Memphis Staff Visits Eric Bledsoe
Posted by TigerEye
On April - 18 - 2009

MemphisRoar has confirmed that the Memphis staff, including Josh Pastner and Glynn Cyprien, made their way to Birmingham, Alabama yesterday to visit the highly pursued five-star point guard Eric Bledsoe. According to our sources, the visit went well and Memphis is “hanging in there.”

An interesting development with regards to Memphis’ involvement with Eric Bledsoe is Memphis’ new assistant coach Glynn Cyprien. While at Kentucky Cyprien was the lead recruiter for Bledsoe. According to many people we speak with who are close to the situation, Eric Bledsoe was a virtual lock to the University of Kentucky prior to Billy Gillespie being fired, mainly because of the relationship that he had with Cyprien.

MemphisRoar is currently working to reach Eric Bledsoe to get an update on his weekend visitors, and we’ll keep you updated as we learn more about this developing situation.

Willis Wilson, Glynn Cyprien hired as Memphis Tiger assistants


Willis Wilson, Glynn Cyprien hired as Memphis Tiger assistants
By Dan Wolken, Memphis Commercial Appeal
Friday, April 17, 2009

The University of Memphis basketball office isn't a one-man show anymore.

Glynn Cyprien and Willis Wilson officially joined the program Friday as assistant coaches, giving some much-needed relief to new head coachJosh Pastner. Though both hires need to be approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents, Cyprien and Wilson were cleared to start assisting Pastner immediately.

Willis Wilson became head coach at Rice in 1992 at age 32. Wilson, who left the Owls in 2008, says he believes that he can help new Tigers coach Josh Pastner deal with taking over a program at a relatively young age and find success at the University of Memphis.

"I can use the help, trust me on that," Pastner said.

When John Calipari left for Kentucky on March 31, his entire coaching staff went with him except for Pastner. As a result, Pastner has been running things almost by himself since being promoted on April 6. Plus, as a first-time head coach, Pastner had to assemble his staff from scratch, making the transition even more difficult and time-consuming.

Pastner turned to Wilson, 49, for his experience as a head coach at Rice from 1992-2008. In Cyprien, 42, the Tigers added a seasoned assistant who has worked at Kentucky, Arkansas, Oklahoma State and UNLV and is well-connected in the South as a recruiter.

"I did a lot of research and talked to other people about what would be the best guys to fit me?" Pastner said. "I understand my weaknesses, so I was trying to find guys that picked up my weaknesses. I'm excited about it. They're both good guys, and that's important to me, being on the same page, having loyalty and caring about the players"

Pastner will be able to hire one more full-time assistant, though he might have to wait a while since his top target, Denver Nuggets lead advance scout/video coordinator Jack Murphy, won't be available until after the Nuggets are finished with the NBA playoffs. Murphy, a former director of basketball operations at Arizona, is one of Pastner's closest friends but won't be easy to lure away because of how valuable he is to the Nuggets.

Pastner is also going to hire a director of basketball operations, and his top candidate appears to be Chipola (Fla.) Junior College coach Greg Heiar. After Pastner fills those slots, he'll work on the rest of his administrative staff.

The good news for Pastner is that he hired a pair of assistants in time for the six-day recruiting window that began on Friday. Cyprien, who worked under Billy Gillispie at Kentucky the past two seasons, was already out on the road trying to help Pastner fill out the 2009-10 roster, which is currently in limbo due to the breakup of Memphis' recruiting class.

Cyprien and Pastner almost worked together before -- Gillispie tried unsuccessfully to hire Pastner at Kentucky -- and that familiarity was one reason Cyprien jumped at the opportunity to come to Memphis.

"The time I'm at in my career now, I'm more concerned about helping, getting with a staff that has great chemistry, winning at a high level and working for a guy you know is going to be successful," Cyprien said. "With coach Pastner, I feel like I got all those things accomplished."

The only negative mark on Cyprien's career was his short stint as head coach at Louisiana-Lafayette, which ended in 2004 shortly after he was hired when a resume discrepancy surfaced regarding the college degree he claimed to have earned.

Beyond that, however, Cyprien is an accomplished recruiter and was already involved at Kentucky with some prospects that Memphis had been recruiting under Calipari like Birmingham point guard Eric Bledsoe. Cyprien previously worked under Eddie Sutton for four seasons and helped recruit the roster that took Oklahoma State to a Final Four in 2004.

Cyprien said he and Pastner would recruit the same high-level prospects that Memphis targeted under the previous regime.

"You go after the top guys in the country," Cyprien said. "We're going to shoot for the stars, and I don't see why you can't with a city like Memphis and a tradition like Tiger basketball, which I followed because I'm from New Orleans. There's no reason why you can't. There's an unbelievable amount of resources there for the players, a great arena to play in, and the fan support is off the charts."

Though Wilson's tenure fell apart in his final season, when a nightmarish combination of circumstances led to a 3-27 record, he is well-regarded in the profession as a teacher of the game and went 219-246 in a difficult situation at Rice. Wilson should provide some experience for Pastner as he makes the transition from assistant to head coach, something Wilson did himself at age 32.

"I think the hardest thing about being a coach at that age and getting your first head coaching job -- and the Memphis situation is a whole lot different than at Rice -- but there aren't many guys out there like you," Wilson said. "That's a different feeling, and sometimes it can be lonely as well as all the other things.

"I can kind of relate to the things that he may go through. I just look at my job and my responsibility is to help him be as successful as he can, and a lot of it is just going to be my ability to convey my experience and give him the cleanest picture I can in the areas he thinks are most important."

GLYNN CYPRIEN

Age: 42

Experience: Kentucky assistant (2007-09), Arkansas assistant (2006-07), New Mexico State associate head coach (2004-06), Oklahoma State assistant (2000-04), UNLV assistant (1995-2000)

What he brings: Cyprien has a lot of credibility as a recruiter and knows the terrain in Memphis. Will be able to get Pastner involved with players in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Because of his experience at elite programs, Cyprien understands the level of athletes Pastner wants to recruit.

WILLIS WILSON

Age: 49

Experience: Rice head coach (1992-2008), Stanford assistant (1991-92), Rice assistant (1987-91)

What he brings: Wilson sat in the head coach's chair for 16 years so he has experience with the kinds of situations Pastner will face. Wilson is well-regarded as a teacher of the game and has sat on numerous boards for coaches' associations. He also understands the ins and outs of Conference USA, which will help in game-planning.

Call Dan Wolken at 529-2365; read his Tiger basketball stories and blog at gomemphistigers.com.

Chicago Tribune Reports Illinois Asst Coach Jerrance Howard Turned Down Josh Pastner


Illinois assistant basketball coach Jerrance Howard stays put
By Terry Bannon | Tribune reporter
12:31 PM CDT, April 16, 2009

Illinois coach Bruce Weber is breathing easier now that he knows assistant coach and lead recruiter Jerrance Howard isn't going anywhere.

Howard has turned down a chance to be associate head coach under new Memphis coach Josh Pastner, who was promoted after John Calipari left for Kentucky.

"This is home," Howard, a former Illinois point guard and Peoria native, said. "I know I'm working for one of the best coaches in the country and the future is really bright. Anytime you have options you have to look at it and do what's best for your family, and this is the best situation for my family."

Howard, 28, just finished his second season as an Illinois assistant and helped put together a nationally ranked recruiting class of 2009 including guards D. J. Richardson, Brandon Paul and Joseph Bertrand and forward Tyler Griffey.

Howard is a key contact with Chicago-area prospects and his presence is considered a key in keeping together the Illini's work on the Class of 2010, from which it has commitments from forwards Jereme Richmond of Waukegan and Crandall Head of Crane -- both considered among the top 25 players in their class -- as well as center Meyers Leonard from Robinson, Ill.

Howard spent three years as an assistant under former Illinois assistant Billy Gillispie at Texas A & M before taking an administrative position under Gillispie at Kentucky in 2007. He got to know Pastner better when Pastner interviewed for a Kentucky assistant job.

SI.com: Four Jordan Brand All-Americans reflect on their recruitments (Xavier Henry on Josh Pastner)

Four Jordan Brand All-Americans reflect on their recruitments

Top-rated wing Xavier Henry believes text messaging should be allowed
Several coaches sent letters to Duke-bound Ryan Kelly's younger sister
UNC's John Henson received 250 letters in one day from a school after committing

NEW YORK -- Before they matriculate to their respective college programs, top recruits Xavier Henry (uncommitted), Alex Oriakhi (UConn), Ryan Kelly (Duke) and John Henson (UNC) sat down to discuss their high school and recruiting experiences. The quartet will play in the Jordan Brand All-American game on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.

Who is the best recruiter you came across?

Xavier Henry: Memphis' Josh Pastner never left me alone for a second. He's always awake. He was on top of it. He knows what your mom and brother are doing. He knows all the numbers in his head. No phone. All by memory. That was impressive. He'd call me at 7 a.m. sharp on Saturdays. I never picked up. I'd wake up and say "Oh my god" then just let voicemail answer. The messages were always like, "Memphis Tigers! Memphis Tigers!" He's always positive. He'd say, "Call me, X! Call me, X! Call me, X!" like 12 times before letting go. "You know the number. Call me!"


John Henson: Steve Robinson from UNC was down to earth. Smooth, calm guy. I just liked the way he talks and carries himself. He's a cool dude.

Alex Oriakhi: Coach Jim Calhoun produces pros. Hilton Armstrong, Hasheem Thabeet. He knows how to produce big men.

Ryan Kelly: Coach K. He's a Hall of Fame coach. He's very honest and up front. To play under him is not something many people can do. He's Coach K.

What is the funniest recruiting moment you remember?

Henson: I did have one school, which shall remain nameless, that sent 250 letters in one day. One stack in my mailbox and two more at the doorstep. I didn't read them. I kept them next to my couch. When I was bored watching TV I'd open it up, take a look at the inspirational quotes and then go back to the regular programming.

Kelly: I've had coaches send my little sister mail.

Oriakhi: The recruits sit right behind the bench at UConn games. [Calhoun] is just yelling at dudes, lighting them up. I'm laughing, but next year I'll be on the other side.

What would you change about the recruiting process?

Henry: I'd rather have texting. It's better than calling and talking. Before you sign, there's a whole bunch of coaches calling.

Henson: No, no, no. Think about how many texts you would have gotten after John Calipari left [Memphis]. Your phone would have vibrated all the way across the table.

Henry: Still better than talking on the phone.

Henson: I think reporters need to use other people as sources. After certain games they should just have joint reports. Too many people asking the same thing.

Kelly: I controlled my recruitment pretty much. Basically I started my own list. I'd make it on academics and basketball.

Oriakhi: I committed so early to avoid all the craziness.

Who was the best recruiter on an in-home visit?

Kelly: I had Duke, Vanderbilt, Georgetown, Wake Forest. Maybe even more. All pretty similar. Ate dinner then showed me film of players they feel I'd be similar to. I play the double bass in the school orchestra, and one coach got from my teacher a copy of the music that we were playing in a concert so they played it as the background music.

Henson: I'm gonna tell all the Carolina kids that you play bass. I bet it was Coach K who did the music.

Kelly: That's OK. Everyone knows it back home. I'm not saying the coach.

Henson: Chapel Hill's really gonna know now. Was it Wake Forest who played the music?

Kelly: I'm not saying.

Henson: Actually, the music sounds like a Georgetown joint.

What did you think of John Calipari leaving Memphis for Kentucky?

Henry: I was just shocked that he left Memphis. That's all I can say on that. (Editor's note: Henry had signed a National letter of intent with Memphis that a clause giving him an out if Calipari left and has now reopened his recruitment.)

Henson: I just felt really sorry for Xavier.

Henry: No, you didn't. You just kept coming up to me at [the] McDonald's [All-American game] saying, "You've got no coach. What are you going to do now?"

What was your reaction to Brandon Jennings going to Europe last year? Did you consider it?

Henry: I was surprised he was really going overseas. I heard stuff about his test and why he had to go overseas.

Henson: I wasn't surprised because I heard he was talking about it for a while. I thought it was kinda crazy. He didn't pass the SAT, so he couldn't play college, right? Well, I guess that's the only option unless you go JUCO. He did what he had to do.

Kelly: Good for him. He's pretty confident he would be an NBA player. He felt going overseas would be best way to go there. I don't know if it would be an option I'd look at. Personally I'd want to get somewhat of an education.

Henson: True that. That's a very Duke-like answer.

What did you think of the Guitar Hero commercial that features Rick Pitino, Roy Williams, Coach K and Bob Knight in pink shirts and boxers?

Henson: I literally jumped up off the couch when I saw the coaches dressed like that. Bob Knight on the drums. That was crazy.

How big has high school basketball become?

Kelly: It has become a business almost. You have TV which is the biggest mainstream thing. There are Web sites with people paying money to see if Xavier is No. 1.

Henry: A lot of teams are sponsored by shoe companies with national tournaments all over. You can be on ESPN. It's getting pretty big pretty quick. I knew it was big when my team from Oklahoma City got on TV.

Henson: I could remember when McDonald's game was the only game on TV. Now you can see top-ranked players two or three times in one season.

How young were you when you started in AAU? What were the positives of your experience? What would you change?

Henry: Third grade. Best part was whooping up on people because we were good. We had Daniel Orton (Kentucky signee). Kyle Hardick. Terrence Boyd. Nick Johnson. And then kids who played well. I'd change how many games we played in a day. We played at most three of four. My dad was the head coach for two years with Athletes First.

Henson: I started about fourth grade. Traveling and meet new people is the best part. Vegas is the favorite place we visited. I'd want less games per day if I could change rules. There are a lot of injuries toward the end of summer. From Vegas in July I had to go to L.A. We played 11 games in like eight days. I was on the Franchize All Stars. We were a start-up team that disbanded when I left. The Franchize started last year. Adidas sent us a bunch of stuff to help the team out, and they didn't send nothing this year.

Kelly: Last summer I came from Argentina and then went straight to Vegas. I think it will be tough to change because colleges want to see as many kids as possible in a short time.

Oriakhi: I started in the fifth grade. Traveling with friends and being the best AAU team in the country. We were like top five in the country (smiling).

Henson: I know some unknown teams that no one knows about because they are just broke.

How many pairs of sneakers do you have in your house right now?

Henry: Six. Enough to wear a pair everyday. Blessed to have some shoes.

Henson: About 13.

Kelly: I give away shoes.

Henry: What size are you?

Kelly: 16.

Henry: Me too. What are you giving away this week?

Best shooter in this class?

Unanimous: Vanderbilt signee John Jenkins.

Best rebounder?

Oriakhi: I'm not going to say anyone else. It's me.

Henry: [Georgia Tech-bound All-America] Derrick Favors.

Henson: Favors is a Dwight Howard clone.

Kelly: Favors.

Best Dunker?

Unanimous: Kansas State signee Wally Judge.

Best athlete?

Unanimous: Louisville signee Peyton Siva.

Best player that you've competed against?

Henry: Eric Gordon and Derrick Rose in AAU. Derrick only had 12. I guarded him. I had nine points.

Henson: I haven't really been playing the best players. I dunno. There's no one I've really played before who I was like, "Oh my god!"

Kelly: We played John Wall twice a year.

Oriakhi: Michael Beasley at Notre Dame Prep

From Adam Zagoria: Memphis Has Interest in Lance, Famous; Eisele Turns Down Memphis


Memphis Has Interest in Lance, Famous; Eisele Turns Down Memphis
Posted on Apr 15, 2009 7:55 pm

Here’s a sudden and somewhat shocking development in the ever changing recruiting world.

Memphis head coach Josh Pastner has interest in both Lance Stephenson and Jarrid Famous, according to a source with knowledge.

I got the news after I wrote this feature for this morning on Stephenson and how he was down to St. John’s and Kansas.

Pastner, 31, has been on the job at Memphis for about a week since being officially named as the replacement for John Calipari, who left for Kentucky.

Pastner is now in the process of trying to reach out to the 6-foot-5 Stephenson, who could make a decision any day now between Kansas or St. John’s.

If Memphis makes a serious push, it could really throw this situation into a mess. Ironically, Stephenson had listed Memphis among his possible schools for a long time until it became clear that Calipari was not recruiting him.

Imagine if Stephenson ended up at Memphis instead of Kansas, and Xavier Henry wound up at Kansas instead of Memphis?

“I am not going to take a player just because he’s available if he’s not good enough,” Pastner told the Memphis Commercial Appeal this week. “I want to make sure guys are good enough whether it’s on the staff or a player for this program.”

Memphis has already lost DeMarcus Cousins to Kentucky and Pastner faces the risk of losing Henry to Kentucky or Kansas as well. Henry got his release from Memphis and will huddle with his brother C.J. this week in New York to discuss their future plans. C.J. would need to obtain an NCAA waiver to play immediately next year if he transferred.

As for the 6-11 Famous, he is set to announce his college choice next Wednesday at Westchester Community College. He will visit Arizona this weekend and is also considering Missouri, Seton Hall, South Florida, UConn and Villanova.

Pastner also needs to hire three full-time assistants and a director of basketball operations after Calipari took the whole staff, sans Pastner, to Kentucky.

A report out of Memphis said Pastner was looking at several candidates, but that Miami-Dade College coach Matt Eisele had turned Memphis down.

As first reported here, Memphis had interest in Eisele because he is an accomplished coach with a strong track record who also happened to have several recruits committed to and considering Memphis.

Two Miami-Dade products, Darnell Dodson and Will Coleman, signed with Memphis, and the program is also recruiting point guard James Beatty, who has interest from a number of schools, including Rutgers.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

MemphisRoar - Willis Takes First Spot on Staff


Willis Takes First Spot on Staff
Posted by MemphisRoar On April - 16 - 2009

According to sources, Willis Wilson will be the first addition to Josh Pastner’s staff at the University of Memphis. There may be a lag between now and the official announcement since the university must jump through certain hoops first (e.g. posting the job, etc). Roar was told by sources that Wilson was offered the job not long after his interview on Monday and would be submitted to the administration for hiring approval.

Wilson is a consumate professional with a very good reputation as someone with a high basketball IQ and a knack for doing things the right way. For a full picture of who Willis Wilson really is and what he brings to the table, read our candidate write-up on him here.

OTHER NOTES OF INTEREST:

* There is a very good chance that Eric Bledsoe may receive a visit by someone representing Memphis this coming weekend.

* Expect for Josh Pastner to head down to Georgia soon to have a sit-down face to face with Will Coleman’s mother.

Dan Wolken - Wednesday Tidbits



- If things proceed as expected, Willis Wilson and Glynn Cyprien could be hired and out on the road helping new coach Josh Pastner recruit by the weekend. The situation with Jack Murphy could drag out longer since the Nuggets are headed into the NBA playoffs, but he’s clearly the guy Pastner wants to fill the other slot on his bench. The Nuggets will make a play to keep Murphy, but he’s very loyal to Pastner, so we’ll see how it works out.

- Will Coleman’s decision on whether to come to Memphis won’t have anything to do with Miami-Dade coach Matt Eisele, I’m told, so don’t expect to see Eisele in the mix for a spot on the Memphis bench. Coleman has just returned from playing overseas, and Pastner has been in contact. Coleman likes and trusts Pastner, but it’s not a sure thing he’ll come to Memphis. I think the parties involved will huddle face-to-face soon, and we’ll know more after that. At this point, Coleman has not asked to be released from his letter.


- The word has been that Darnell Dodson would like to follow John Calipari to Kentucky. It’s also worth noting that because Dodson is still signed, any contact initiated by the Kentucky staff would be illegal.


- It will be interesting to see, if Cyprien is hired, if Daniel Orton asks out of his letter-of-intent at Kentucky and thinks about Memphis. Cyprien was essentially the reason Orton went to Kentucky in the first place. I don’t think this is likely to happen, but you never know. And given the way things have happened this week - let’s just say that Pastner has had to pull a few knives out of his back - I think Pastner would probably relish that opportunity if it was presented to him.


- Cyprien was also deeply involved at Kentucky in the recruitment of Eric Bledsoe, the tremendous point guard from Alabama. Memphis certainly has a need at that position, and I think Pastner will try to make a strong run at him.


- There are some other recruiting dominoes that could fall in Memphis’ favor over the next few weeks, but it’s also possible that Pastner might strike out on the high-level guys that could really help next year. If so, he’ll focus on the 2010 class. He needs to have enough guys to field a roster, of course, but he’s not going to give away scholarships for the heck of it.


- Adam Zagoria mentioned on his blog today that Memphis might try to get involved with Lance Stephenson. I have heard this as well. If there is legitimate interest from Stephenson, I am certain Pastner will pursue him. It’s worth a shot.


- The predominant school of thought at the moment is that Shawn Taggart will be back next year, though obviously there are variables that could change things.


- Despite what Tyreke Evans’ people are saying in the Philadelphia papers, Memphis is operating under the assumption that he won’t be back next year. Obviously, if something happens and Evans decides to come back, there will be a scholarship for him. A second year of Evans would be just as good for Pastner as hitting the Powerball. And maybe the same odds, too.


- A lot of people I’ve spoken with recently have been under the assumption that some of the luxuries demanded by John Calipari like charter flights for road games, staying at The Peabody the night before home games, etc., would be gone. Not true at all. All those things are staying the same.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

From MemphisRoar - Mythbusters: Truths About the Coaching Search


Mythbusters: Truths About the Coaching Search
Posted by MemphisRoar
On April - 15 - 2009

http://memphisroar.com/2009/04/mythbusters-truths-about-the-coaching-search/#more-1475

With all of the reports coming out today about potential candidates for Josh Pastner’s staff, it is important that you separate the truth from speculation.

So, what’s the real deal? What’s really going on? And what does it mean for possible players, etc? Before we dive into the myths behind the potential hires, let’s clear up the truth in these reports.

Dan Wolken’s report is spot on and is the best summary of what is going on in the coaching search at this point in time. All bases are covered. Willis Wilson’s interview went extremely well yesterday but no official decision has been made up to this point. It is very likely that Wilson will fill the role of the X’s-and-O’s position on Pastner’s staff.

Also, Glynn Cyprien’s name is one that had been floating around since the end of last week but we were asked to not to put it out at that time. But yes, it is VERY likely that Cyprien would fill a second spot on Pastner’s staff. He came in yesterday afternoon to interview with Pastner after Wilson’s interview. From Dan’s summary and our point of view, it is still very up in the air as to who may fill the third position. Both Dan and Gary Parrish mention Jack Murphy of the Denver Nuggets.

The Director of Basketball Operations position would likely be filled by one of Eisele or Greg Heiar from Chipola Junior College. According to our sources, there is definitely mutual interest from both sides between Pastner and Heiar and that it is likely that Heiar will be in Memphis this Thursday or Friday to sit down with Pastner about the available positions.

From Kristin’s Talent (Fox 13 Memphis) report on My Fox Memphis, you have to weed out some information that may steer you in the wrong direction. At this point, Ulric Mailgi is not a major player in this. Mailgi has some connection with previously signed recruit Nolan Dennis, but it is unlikely that the search will come down to his spot on the list. In addition, Matt Eisele has not turned down the job, according to our sources. What is important to clarify right here, though, is that we are not saying that he would be offered at this point or take it if offered.

THE ORTON MYTH

Glen Cyprien being hired would put Memphis in the driver’s seat for Daniel Orton.

This is far from a given. Please do not over-excite yourself into thinking that this would happen.

THE PLAYERS FOLLOW COACH MYTH

If Greg Heiar is hired, Memphis would benefit from players following Heiar from Chipola to Memphis.

There is a very good possibility that this could happen. From our sources, there are at least four players on Chipola’s current roster that would be termed as “no brainers” to potentially follow Heiar. There is still a lot of work to do to bring in Heiar (who is currently being courted by several programs at this time), but if it happens this myth is likely to avoid the BUSTED category. We’ll leave the speculation over the names of potential tag-alongs up to you guys.

CBS Sports Gary Parrish - Pastner trying to lure NBA scout, Jack Murphy


Pastner trying to lure NBA scout

Josh Pastner has asked the Denver Nuggets for permission to speak with Jack Murphy about a job on the Memphis staff, a source close to the program told CBSSports.com on Wednesday.

Murphy is a scout for the Nuggets, a close friend of Pastner's, a former Arizona manager and the son-in-law of Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood. He is respected as a tremendous workout guy, someone Denver coach George Karl values greatly, which could make it tough for Pastner to lure Murphy away from the NBA.

But he's trying.

Meantime, former Rice head coach Willis Wilson and former Kentucky assistant Glynn Cyprien were on the Memphis campus Tuesday interviewing for jobs, two sources added. Wilson was the head coach at Rice for 16 seasons. Cyprien was with Billy Gillispie at Kentucky the past two seasons, and was the primary recruiter of Daniel Orton, a 6-foot-9 center ranked as the 12th-best prospect in the Class of 2009.

Orton told Scout.com's Evan Daniels last week that he might re-open his recruitment.

He is expected to make a decision on whether to stay with UK or look elsewhere in the coming weeks.

Bio on possible assistant coach choice Glynn Cyprien


Bio on possible assistant coach choice Glynn Cyprien

During his 19 years as a collegiate coach, he has recruited12 players who have made it to the NBA, including Phoenix Suns' forward Shawn Marion, Boston Celtics guard Tony Allen, Toronto Raptors forward Joey Graham and Houston Rockets guard John Lucas III.

Coaching Experience
2006 New Mexico State, associate head coach
2001-04 Oklahoma State, assistant coach
1996-2000 Nevada-Las Vegas, associate head coach
1995 Western Kentucky, associate head coach
1992-94 Jacksonville University, associate head coach
1991 Lamar, assistant coach
1988-90 Texas-San Antonio, assistant coach
1989 Texas-San Antonio, women's assistant coach
1987 Louisiana Junior Olympic Team, head coach

Playing Experience
1986-87 Southern University-New Orleans
1982-85 Jesuit (New Orleans, La.) High School

Postseason Experience
2004 Oklahoma State, NCAA Tournament (Final Four), Big 12 Conference regular-season and tournament champion
2003 Oklahoma State, NCAA Tournament (second round)
2002 Oklahoma State, NCAA Tournament
2001 Oklahoma State, NCAA Tournament
2000 UNLV, NCAA Tournament
1999 UNLV, NIT
1998 UNLV, NCAA Tournament
1997 UNLV, NIT
1995 Western Kentucky, NCAA Tournament (second round), Sun Belt Conference regular-season and tournament champion
1988 Texas-San Antonio, NCAA Tournament

Glynn Cyprien, in his second season in Lexington, is no stranger to the SEC or the state of Kentucky, having served as an assistant coach at Arkansas in the 2006-07 season and an associate head coach at Western Kentucky in 1995.

Coaching Career
Louisiana Junior Olympic Team, Head Coach 1987
Texas-San Antonio, Asst. Coach 1987-90
Lamar, Assistant Coach 1990-91
Jacksonville, Associate Head Coach 1991-94
Western Kentucky, Associate Head Coach 1994-95
UNLV, Associate Head Coach 1995-20
Oklahoma State, Assistant Coach 2000-04
New Mexico State, Associate Head Coach 2005-06
Arkansas, Assistant Coach 2006-07
Kentucky, Assistant Coach 2007-09

Prior to his stop in Fayetteville, Cyprien was an associate head coach at New Mexico State where he helped the Aggies improve from 6-24 in 2005 to 16-14 in 2006, the second-best turnaround in the country that season.

Before going to New Mexico State, Cyprien served as an assistant coach under Eddie Sutton at Oklahoma State from 2000-2004. In his four seasons at OSU, the Cowboys were a combined 97-32. All four teams earned NCAA Tournament bids with the 2004 squad going 31-4 and reaching the Final Four. The 2003 club was 23-10 and reached the second round of the tournament. The 2002 team went 23-9 and lost to Stan Heath's Kent State club in the first round. The 2001 team was 20-10.

Prior to working at OSU, the New Orleans, La., native was associate head coach at UNLV for five years from 1996-2000 where he oversaw UNLV's recruiting. UNLV's 1997 recruiting class was rated best in the nation by The Sporting News and Basketball Times, and the 1999 class second-best by Hoop Scoop. While at UNLV, the `96 club was 10-16, but the Rebels were in the post-season each of the next four years. The 1997 team was 22-10 and lost at Arkansas in the first round of the NIT. The `98 team was 20-13 and earned an NCAA Tournament bid, the '99 club went 16-13 and played in the NIT, and the 2000 Rebels were 23-8 and played in the NCAA Tournament.

In 1995, he was associate head coach at Western Kentucky when the Hilltoppers won Sun Belt Conference regular-season and tournament titles, advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and ended the year ranked No. 21 with a 27-4 record. WKU's .871 winning percentage was second-best in the nation that season while the recruiting class was ranked No. 10.

Cyprien was also associate head coach at Jacksonville University from 1991-94. The Dolphins recorded the most improved winning percentage in the nation, going from .222 (6-21) to .607 (17-11).

A former assistant at Lamar and Texas-San Antonio, he helped Lamar improve from 7-20 to 15-12 in 1991. At UTSA, he helped the Roadrunners earn their first ever bid to the NCAA Tournament in 1988 (22-9) and followed with records of 21-8 in 1989 and 22-7 in 1990.

Cyprien lettered two seasons as a player at Southern University-New Orleans. In 2004, he earned his bachelor's degree in physical education from Texas-San Antonio.

He has been a member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) for 19 years and the Black Coaches Association (BCA) for 14 years.

Cyprien is married to the former Monique Bouldin and they are the parents of Asia (14) and Karter (5).

ESPN's Andy Katz on Pastner's Staff, Scheduling and Recruiting


From ESPN's Andy Katz


• Memphis coach Josh Pastner interviewed former Rice head coach Willis Wilson and former Kentucky coach Glynn Cyprien as he begins to fill his first staff. Hiring Wilson would be a home run for Pastner. He needs an older coach who understands how to manage a program, including dealing with the rest of campus, scheduling, and organizing the daily routine.
Cyprien has had a number of assistant-coaching stints, from Kentucky to Oklahoma State to UNLV, and has plenty of connections.
• Pastner could be open to getting out of the series with Gonzaga. Mark Few said the decision on the series is up to Pastner.
• Pastner said the only person who could have kept the Memphis recruiting class intact was John Calipari, something he told athletic director R.C. Johnson. He said that while he was an assistant he sold the recruits on playing for Calipari, so he's not surprised that most of them will be bolting.

MaxPreps Reports Xavier Down to Kansas or Kentucky


http://www.maxpreps.com/news/article.aspx?articleid=250b40a9-de29-de11-a973-001cc494dda6

Dan Wolken - What the coaching staff could look like


What the coaching staff could look like

Posted by Dan Wolken

Right now, the smart money is on former Rice coach Willis Wilson and former Kentucky/Arkansas/UNLV assistant Glynn Cyprien filling two of the three positions. They both interviewed yesterday with Josh Pastner and athletic director R.C. Johnson. Wilson’s experience as a head coach for 16 years would be a tremendous asset, and his reputation as a teacher of the game is well-known. Cyprien is a very good recruiter and has lots of connections in the Southeast.

Pastner appears to be targeting Jack Murphy, the lead advance scout/video coordinator for the Denver Nuggets, for the third assistant spot. Murphy was previously the director of basketball operations at Arizona and has a close friendship with Pastner. Murphy, 30, is considered rising star in the Nuggets organization, so it’s no slam dunk Pastner will be able to get him away from the NBA. Most of the Nuggets top players including Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin and formerly Allen Iverson, swear by Murphy’s individual workouts.

If that ends up being Pastner’s staff - Wilson, Cyprien and Murphy - it’s a high-major caliber staff without question.

The director of basketball operations position could go to a junior college coach. Matt Eisele of Miami-Dade College has been mentioned, as well as Greg Heiar of Chipola Junior College.

So, in other words, it looks like the process is coming closer to conclusion of putting together a basketball staff. There could be some solid news on the assistants by the end of the week, but there are also some issues with job postings, official hiring procedures, etc., that could delay official announcements.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

From Memphis Roar: Resist the Urge (On Will Coleman and Darnell Dodson)


Resist the Urge
Posted by Memphis Roar On April - 14 - 2009
http://memphisroar.com/2009/04/resist-the-urge/

Picture - Will Coleman #14


Anyone who tries to tell you that being a Memphis basketball fan right now is easy as pie is flat out lying to you. Well, after an interesting conversation last night, it is becoming increasingly harder to find a glimmer of hope in all of this Post-Calipari Era rubble. Prior to the ring of my telephone at 11pm last night, I felt comfortable saying that there was a good chance that Memphis had a chance in retaining signed 2009 players Darnell Dodson and Will Coleman from Miami-Dade Community College (MDCC).

Part of what has made this an up in the air topic has been the lack of public response to the Pastner hiring by the two players from MDCC. Roar has attempted on several occasions to contact Darnell Dodson, only to not receive a returned phone call or text message. In addition, Will Coleman is currently playing in Europe for the USA Elite team in FIBA pool play competition.

According to sources that Roar spoke with last week, it was merely a matter of time before Matt Eisele, head coach at MDCC, would be hired onto Josh Pastner’s staff. Sources said that it was a matter of figuring out “at what spot” and not a matter of yes or no. With the potential of Eisele’s hire, it was speculated that this move was done in an attempt to salvage the duo of Dodson and Coleman.

After last night’s conversation, it has become glaringly obvious that the new slogan for next year needs to be “Prepare for the worst, hope for the best”. The confidence from our sources regarding the retention of Dodson and Coleman has gone down significantly. In addition, one of Roar’s sources has said that close family members of each of the two players have expressed concerns and potentially would like out of their National Letters of Intent. No formal process to request the releases has been initiated as of today, but that’s not to say that it won’t.

According to Dan Wolken on The Memphis Edge, he believes that there is a good possibility that John Calipari may be or will be involved with these two if this does indeed happen.

“The question now is whether John Calipari would try to get involved (or if he already is). The answer is most likely yes. What Calipari has been telling people close to him is that he is worried he might win 15 or 16 games at Kentucky next year after seeing the lack of talent in that program. Whether he really believes that or not, he’s clearly laying the groundwork for a player-grab, even if it comes at the expense of his former assistant.”

So here’s the deal. As a Memphis fan, you MUST resist the urge to let this eat you up. Remain positive. We debated putting up an article on this mainly because there is such a need for positive press for Memphis basketball right now, and this is only the opposite. This is far from over. You can bet that Pastner will be fighting like heck to try to keep these two guys. If they leave, it had nothing to do with Pastner. If they stay, it had EVERYTHING to do with him.

* To add an interesting side-note to this story, Gary Parrish of CBS Sports reported this morning on his weekly radio spot that he has been told from industry sources that Calipari is actively recruiting Darnell Dodson and Will Coleman to the University of Kentucky. Remember, both of these guys are still signed with the University of Memphis. No release has been granted on these guys.