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#pounditSunday, November 28, 2021

Articles tagged: Memphis Tigers Basketball

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.

Chinese Gaining on U.S. in Basketball

And by gaining on the U.S., I mean their national team beat a Conference-USA team once in three tries. In case you missed it, Memphis coach John Calipari set up an exchange program where he had a Chinese coach following Memphis the past year. In return, Cal headed up a team of C-USA representatives that traveled to China for an exhibition tour. Calipari thinks all the traveling finally caught up to his team and led to the loss, and I’ll buy it. For Cal however, it’s not so much about the result as it is about the future possibilities from this program:

“We see what in all likelihood is coming. Basketball is just like everything else in China. It gets started and then it just rolls downhill,” Calipari said. “We are putting our program in a position to capitalize on that.”

“The risk in this is we never get a player. We end up with great relationships, some great new friends and experiences,” Calipari said. “If we do get a Chinese player, our team and university will be huge. We become an international school.”

Yeah, the one problem is that if they’re immensely talented like Yao or Yi (!!!!!), they go straight to the pros, no college rule needed. Still, this sounds like Calipari’s onto a good idea. Seems like he’s a little ahead of the curve here with this project. And I for one, can’t wait to see the first successful Chinese college player.

Free Throws Finally Burn Memphis

Amongst other issues. That was quite the final eight minutes (including the OT). First off, much props are inline for Jason, the co-founder of the excellent sports/fan networking site Ballhype, who easily won the LBS March Madness Pool by being the only person to correctly predict the participants of the Championship Game. Quite impressive, Jason. Jason had Memphis winning so he probably was counting his money with about 130 seconds to go and the Tigers up by nine. There were several factors that contributed to the Kansas comeback, and I’m delighted to elaborate.

Joey Dorsey fouled out, leaving the middle open for Darrell Arthur. Mario Chalmers made his free throws, not to mention a small, tiny little three-pointer. They also made a great steal on an inbounds pass under the basket and Sherron Collins cashed it in with a three-pointer. But just when people thought Memphis had turned the corner when it came to free-throw shooting, they tanked. CDR and Dozier made two apiece to help build the nine-point lead. But then things came crashing down. CDR missed the front-end of a one-and-one, and followed that up by missing two more free throws in the double bonus with his team only up one. He makes one or two and his team is safe and sound. Instead, he bricked them both, leaving the pressure on Derrick Rose. Rose then hit one of two, keeping it at a one possession game.

The last 10 seconds of the game are then a mystery — from the Memphis side. Give Clark Kellogg credit for saying it — why didn’t the Tigers foul with five or six seconds left in order to eliminate the chance of a game-tying three-pointer? They foul, it goes to the line, and then Memphis gets the ball back and wins. It’s the exact same strategy Bruce Pearl used to beat Memphis in their only prior defeat. Calipari says they were trying to foul, but I didn’t see it. Maybe he thought so, but maybe his players were on a different wavelength. Anyway, much like I said in my reflections on the UCLA loss, free throws would eventually come back to burn Memphis. And congrats to Jason for winning the pool.

Derrick Rose Ruined by Gummy Bears

I love of it when players get mysterious injuries or ailments that disappear suddenly. Like honestly, are there that many 24-hour stomach bugs or 24-hour flus going around athlete circles that seem to skip the rest of the population? And everyone who’s ever called into work sick with one of these knows exactly what they were covering up — a hangover. So you really tell me that Derrick Rose missed media sessions Sunday because of gummy bears but he’ll be fine for the title game?

“He eats Gummy Bears and Starburst for breakfast, and Twizzlers and Honey Buns for dinner. That’s why his stomach hurts,” fellow guard Chris Douglas-Roberts said. “We tell Derrick the whole year, ‘Stop eating so many Gummy Bears and Sour Straws.’ But he can’t. … Nobody eats Gummy Bears more than him.”

Now there’s a true friend — someone who’s going to bring up something childish and humorous to distract everyone. Sounds to me like Rose was out having a good time after the Saturday night win and was recovering on Sunday. You can take your gummy bears; I’ll put my money on Jagermeister. Still pretty funny to consider he’s eating Gummy Bears and Starburst to start off his day. Obviously the breakfast of champions.