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Friday, March 26, 2010

Witherspoon returning to University of Memphis for junior season

By Dan Wolken
Posted March 26, 2010 at 10:58 a.m.
Witherspoon returning to University of Memphis for junior season

Sophomore Wesley Witherspoon will return to the University of Memphis basketball program for his junior season rather than try the NBA Draft, the school announced this morning.

"I'm coming back," Witherspoon said in a university news release. "Coach met with my family and me, and laid out all the pros and cons about staying and declaring for the draft. After we talked, I made the decision to return."

Witherspoon, a 6-9 swingman from Atlanta, made the all-Conference USA third team as a sophomore, averaging 12.5 points and 4.6 rebounds. He shot 43 percent from the 3-point line and 76.4 percent from the foul line.

Tigers coach Josh Pastner said sophomore guard Elliot Williams was still in the decision-making process after meeting with his family on Thursday. Williams, if he declared for the NBA Draft without hiring an agent, would have until May 8 to change his mind.

Witherspoon’s return ensures the Tigers will have as much depth and talent on the wings as any team in the country next season, with the addition of two top-15 recruits in 6-7 Will Barton and 6-6 Jelan Kendrick.

In another development, Memphis assistant coach Willis Wilson will interview for the head coaching job at Toledo this weekend, according to multiple sources close to the program. Wilson was the head coach at Rice for 16 seasons.

Pastner said he could not comment about the Toledo position but is supportive of his staff members seeking head coaching opportunities.

“I don’t want to lose anybody because we have the best staff in the country, but if anybody has an opportunity for job advancement I don’t want to take them away from that,” Pastner said. “It’s a double-edged sword; if we have success, guys are going to have opportunities.”

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