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Memphis coach Josh Pastner blames wife for minor recruiting violation

Memphis basketball coach Josh Pastner committed a puzzling secondary recruiting violation via the team’s Twitter account Tuesday night when he tweeted the following: “Tony Parker.” Parker is a big man from Georgia and one of the top recruits in the class of 2012, and the Tigers and many other teams would love to have him. Since the tweet qualified as publicly discussing an unsigned recruit, Pastner had committed a violation despite the fact that he deleted it minutes later.

So how did this happen? That’s the entertaining part of the story. According to Pastner, the tweet would have never been sent if not for his wife flustering him.

“My wife was yelling at me because I was on the phone too loud,” he said according to the Commercial Appeal. “I was waking (the couple’s infant daughter) up and waking my wife up because I had the TV on. She was complaining that I not only woke my daughter up, but I also woke the baby inside her up because she’s pregnant.

“So I was waking everybody up, I was getting yelled at and on top of that I was thinking, ‘What’s going on with recruiting?’ and ‘Who am I going to hire?’ and I made a mistake.”

Pastner says he meant to type “Tony Parker” into his search engine but accidentally tweeted it. I’m inclined to believe him, since there’s no reason to think any coach in their right mind would just type a recruit’s name (and only their name) onto the team’s Twitter account. Then again, maybe he’s one of those dudes who’s big into subliminal messaging and feels like the two minutes the tweet was live may have given Memphis an edge. No word yet on how his wife feels about taking the fall. Guess Twitter recruiting violations run in the Pastner family.

H/T The Dagger
Photo credit: Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE

Memphis PA Announcer Introduces John Calipari as Tigers Coach (Video)

It’s been nearly three years since John Calipari left Memphis for Kentucky, but don’t tell that to the Tigers’ PA announcer. Memphis’ PA announcer introduced John Calipari as the Tigers’ coach prior to the team’s game against Murray State Sunday. That’s a bit of a problem, considering Josh Pastner is the team’s head coach.

Watch the video below, and listen for all the boos:

That blunder (or intentionally cruel joke?) set the tone for a home loss for the Tigers against Murray State. I’d really like to know how the person screwed that up so badly. It’s probably the biggest on-air blunder we’ve heard since this one.

H/T Chris Vernon

Luke Walton Joining Memphis as Assistant Coach During Lockout

Luke Walton is 31 years old and still has two years left on his NBA contract, but that hasn’t stopped him from working on a potential career after his playing days are over. Walton is joining the Memphis Tigers basketball program as an assistant coach, pending approval by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Walton will be the third assistant coach on the Memphis staff and he’ll hold the position until the NBA lockout ends. He’ll join former Arizona teammate Josh Pastner, who is the team’s head coach, and serve on the staff along with former Wildcats Damon Stoudamire and Jack Murphy.

In a statement announcing the hire, Pastner said “Luke will be a great coach because he brings a wealth of knowledge and a winning attitude to the Tigers program. His experiences, which include playing in four NBA Finals and winning two NBA World Championships, are lessons that he can share with our players to help them grow and develop their games.”

Walton now joins Kevin Durant and Anthony Randolph as someone with unusual, yet awesome lockout plans. It’s hard to know if this is a role where Walton will be successful considering his lack of experience, but you have to figure it’s a precursor to a future coaching career.

Tweet from Josh Pastner’s Sister to Recruit Could Get Memphis in Trouble

Josh Pastner’s sister, Courtney Pastner, sent a tweet to high school recruit Rodney Purvis that could get Memphis in trouble (albeit in a minor way). Purvis is one of the top shooting guard recruits in the country and he recently re-opened his recruiting after decommitting from Louisville in early May. He announced on twitter Saturday that he was adding Memphis to his list of schools he was considering.

After losing an AAU game in LA the next day, he wrote “hurts to lose.” Josh Pastner’s sister, Courtney Paster replied to him on twitter “I was at the game. You’re the real deal. I can tell you’re a workhorse.” Rodney then retweeted that message for all his followers to see, bringing to light a potential problem.

Courtney is the sister of Josh Pastner, who is the head coach at Memphis. She has a Memphis Tigers logo as her twitter background (as seen above). It’s pretty obvious she qualifies as a representative of the program the same way Nick Saban and Pat Dye’s daughters did.

Cameron Smith at Prep Rally points out that someone affiliated with the institution making direct public contact with the recruit through social media is a violation of NCAA rules. Sure it’s an extremely minor offense and a rule Courtney’s learning the hard way, but at least she now knows better. And I think we can probably file this story under “why does the NCAA consider this a violation,” again?

Just How Crooked Was the Memphis Basketball Program Under Calipari?

We’ve already discussed some of the alleged violations committed by the Memphis program regarding Derrick Rose’s bogus SAT test. I indicted John Calipari saying that he likely knew what was going on with Rose. When the report about Rose having his high school grades changed came out, it only further confirmed my suspicion. Well now there’s a report by Gary Parrish suggesting that four-year forward Robert Dozier also had SAT issues but was still accepted by Memphis:

According to a source, Dozier took the SAT once before trying to enroll at Georgia, but that score was flagged after the school received a tip that the score might be “fishy.” At the time, Georgia was still dealing with charges of academic fraud under Jim Harrick and determined to be extra careful with everything. So the school asked Dozier to take the SAT again, and a source with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com that the second score was “not enough to resolve the issue.” Put another way, Georgia officials were not properly convinced the first test and second test were taken by the same person, which led to the end of Dozier’s time as a Georgia recruit in August 2004.

That sounds like it all makes sense to me. Dozier wound up committing to Memphis for a second time about a month after his second SAT test. Before that, he attended Laurinberg Prep along with three other future Tigers. That makes me wonder what kind of shady relationship Memphis and Calipari had with this Laurinberg Prep. Regardless, whatever doubt that may have existed regaring Calipari’s knowledge of Rose’s issues have now been eliminated. This is what we call a disturbing pattern, my friends. But as long as he continues to bring in the top quality players, Kentucky won’t care. That is, until the NCAA comes investigating, which they already should be doing.

Memphis Gets Back at Calipari by Hiring His Top Assistant, Josh Pastner

Memphis didn’t exactly get its first choice when they were trying to hire a replacement for John Calipari who left for Kentucky. First of all, the program rounded up all the boosters to come up with a monster salary package to try and get Calipari to stay. When he spurned them, they went after Bruce Pearl, supposedly offering him a seven-year $21 million contract. Pearl decided to sign an extension with Tennessee instead. Then, in what seemed like a surprise move, Memphis announced they had hired Josh Pastner as their new coach. This is the same Pastner who backed up Mike Bibby at Arizona after walking onto the team, getting exposure on the bench with the ’97 title squad. The same Pastner who was later an assistant on Olson’s staff, just a year after finishing his playing career. The same Pastner who’s ascension took him to Memphis to work under Calipari this past year.

I was trying to make sense of this move considering Memphis pays well enough and has enjoyed enough recent success to make it a desirable job. Then when I thought about it I came up with three reasons to explain the move. First of all, Pastner was going to be John Calipari’s top recruiting assistant at Kentucky — hiring him hurts Calipari and helps Memphis get even. Secondly, Memphis was already losing recruits who had committed to them while Cal was the coach. Maybe hiring Pastner will give those recruits incentive to play for the guy who recruited them the most. Lastly, maybe they feel Pastner is a young up-and-coming coach who’s worth taking a chance on regardless of his lack of head coaching experience.

I like the move by Memphis — it certainly displayed outside-the-box thinking. It also makes me wonder why Arizona didn’t bring him back home. Was Sean Miller really worth $2 million per season to recruit an area with which he’s unfamiliar when Pastner could have represented the school well at half the price? Arizona dropped the ball here. And where’s Billy Gillispie’s name for all these jobs? Just because Kentucky canned him doesn’t mean he’s not a good coach anymore.

Greivis Vasquez: Memphis Would Have Losing Record in ACC

Greivis Vasquez has a reputation for being quite the talker. The guy said of Cameron Indoor Stadium prior to a game against Duke that it was his house. The Blue Devils proceeded to trash the Terps by 41 or so. Do you think the Maryland guard has since learned his lesson? I think not. By the time you read this, Vasquez will either look like a dope or a genius for his comments about Memphis leading up to their game on Saturday. Vasquez said the Tigers would be unsuccessful if they played in the ACC:

“[Memphis would] have a losing record in the league — probably win all of their games outside the league, losing record in the league,” he said. “The ACC is too tough. You can’t just win games night in and night out because you’re so athletic.”

I think Memphis has proven that they’re a talented team playing in a poor conference and that they’re beyond being picked on for the weakness of C-USA. You don’t come within a minute of winning the title last year by being a team that is just mediocre. I bet the Terps lose this one and Greivis eats his words. By the way, what NBA team would want the extra baggage of that big mouth on its roster?? He’s great for us as writers but he’s not good for a team trying to win games.