Friday, April 10, 2009

Fox 13 parodies Cal

Pastner the Prodigy

No one told Mozart he was too young to compose music, so why should anyone say Josh Pastner is too young to coach basketball? While researching a little more into Josh Pastner's pedigree as a coach, I came across an old SI article. You can click on the title above to read for yourself, but for the lazy folks, here are the highlights:

- Started a high school basketball scouting service at age 14.
- Started an AAU team (Houston Hoops) with his dad. Josh took over at age 16.
- While in high school, college coaches would contact him daily, not for his playing ability, but his coaching ability.
- 3 Top 20 college basketball programs offered him assistant coaching jobs out of HIGH SCHOOL.

After reading this article, I will applaud Memphis for one reason. For the first time in the history of our athletic program, we have been innovative, trailblazing, or whatever you want to call it. We could have just hired a coach that with his experience and expertise, would have been hired if he had more gray hair by Arizona, Kentucky, or anyone else with an opening for a top job.

Let's look at some of his qualities that make him a perfect head coach.

1. He sleeps 4 hours a night - most of the time this isn't a good thing. This usually means that your coach is on the verge of an Andy Kennedy type incident but not Pastner. Pastner doesn't drink alcohol, carbonated beverages, and tries to mind his tongue. This brings us to the next point:

2. He works his tail off - Since he was 16 years old, he has arranged travel, tryouts, and anything dealing with operating an AAU team. He went to class, played on basketball, watched 25 hours of film per week, and ran Arizona's star players through extra drills after practice. As a coach, he was the top recruiter in Arizona and Memphis. You can't be a top recruiter without outworking the next guy.

3. He knows his stuff - You don't talk basketball with top college coaches since you are a teenager and not have some of it rub off. Also considering that he was offered a scholarship as a "coach-in-training", he must be ahead of the game. Has that ever happened before?

While some aren't ready to fully trust Pastner, I am not one of them. Forget his age, look at his accomplishments. Pastner is Prodigy.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

That Ain't My Currr-sin...

I don't think the brethren hyphenate the word "cousin", but I'm spelling phonetically here. Work with me.
So Cousins followed Cal to Kentucky. That's fine. Latest recruiting rumor is Latavious Williams, a strong PF prospect, is close to Pastner and may be interested in Memphis. Some worry that he might not qualify at other schools. Welcome to Memphis, Latavious.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust...

ZAGSBLOG is reporting that Nolan Dennis is following Cal and Cousins to Kentucky. While Cousins wasn't a huge surprise, there was speculation that Dennis would stick around. This sucks. Hopefully he is the last deserter.

On a related note, Nolan's mother Carol claims that her son will be following Cal because "a lot of kids need a good hard when they’re playing." If there's any coach out there who knows how to give a good hard, it's Cal.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Don't Get Me Wrong... I'm Excited about Pert Plus Pastner.

But why did it take RC and the Gang over a week to discover the new Memphis Jewel?

Cal and the team landed in Memphis on the morning of Friday, March 27. Roughly 2.7 seconds later, Cal was in serious negotiations with the University of Kentucky.

RC should have begun contacting other coaching prospects immediately upon granting Kentucky permission to speak with Cal. Reasonably speaking, he should have put the feelers out a few hours after the team landed.

Instead, the people of Memphis were left with excruciating uncertainty until the next Tuesday... 5 whole days! The next day, Memphis fans were led to believe that the Tigers would be making a "WOW! hire" very soon to replace Calipari.

As a sidenote, I hate the term "WOW hire". It gives Memphis fans a doe-eyed, backwoods look. I fully expected the school to release their next statement rife with lines such as, "Well, gaaaaahw-lee! This coach-huntin' is mighty tough!" and "Aw, shucks! The NIT ain't so bad!" For future reference, if I write about anything that is ridiculous or stupid, it will be deemed a WOW! "X".

On the heels of the promise to bring in basketball royalty to replace Cal, names such as Rick Pitino, Bruce Pearl, even Bob Knight surfaced.

Really?! Pitino will leave his thoroughbred team, in a thoroughbred conference, in Louisville where he raises thoroughbreds to come back to the conference from which he bolted four years ago?

Really?! Bruce Pearl will leave a school that's embraced him, the city in which his kids live, the hotbed (you know it) of coeds, and free cut and color whenever he needs one?
Really?! Bob Knight? Really.

So the days dragged along. After the first line of defense has fallen, Memphis fans begin to recapture a sense of reason and begin discussing the possibilities of Scott Drew, Reggie Theus and Andy Kennedy.

While the Scott Drew experiment (thankfully) blew over and Kennedy was left in Oxford without a cabbie, the university was silent. Even my contacts in the athletic department were clamming up... Considering the chaos and possibly failures of the past few days, the silence was deafening.

None of the big names were coming. No under-the-radar, mid-major guru was sneaking in. No NBA coach was going to settle into the Tiger post.

Being the head coach of the Memphis Tigers is a hard job. Apart from selling the city and school, you have to sell the conference, which means you have to sell the lack of airtime, highlights and all-around media acknowledgement, much less attention.

When all seemed to be lost and Memphis seemed to be destined to dwell in the bottom of the CUSA barrel, lightning struck on Monday, April 6. Memphis has a coach. It's Josh "Pert Plus" Pastner, the 31 year old assistant of Cal for the previous year and Lute Olsen for six years before that.

This was definitely a WOW! hire and, initially, it seemed to fit my definition of a WOW! hire.

Pastner is a Cal guy. He's 31. He's only been an assistant, whose main jobs have been recruiting and making donut runs.

However, it didn't take long before the college basketball talking heads warmed to this hire.

Pastner is an excellent recruiter. He's assisted under two of the biggest names in the game over the past decade. He's an excellent PR guy. Chicks dig him. The current players like him. He pushes the up-tempo style that Memphis fans have grown to love. He is definitely an up-and-comer in the college game.

It didn't take long for the good to outweigh the bad in the minds of Tiger fans. On that fact alone, the hire has to be considered an initial success. Bringing any positive energy at all to the situation warrants a cautious pat on the back for RC and the Gang.

Nevertheless, my question remains... Why on God's green earth did it take 10 days to make this happen? Pastner was literally packing up his office to follow Cal to Kentucky when RC called him in and offered him the Tiger's head coaching job.

Was it Pastner's age? Was it his lack of head coaching experience? Could it have been that every other direction Memphis began to travel was closed off and they finally dropped to square one and took a leap of faith?

Who knows? The chance of RC and the Gang being transparent about the process is slim. RC may have simply consulted his trusty Magic 8-Ball for the final answer.

Regardless of the fact that the search was sloppy and hurried, the hire took gusto. As I've said before, Cal did so much, not only the Memphis Tigers basketball team, but for the school and the city of Memphis. Placing those reins in an unproven, 31-year old, former assistant coach's hands is either a recipe for disaster or sowing the seeds of an incredible story.

Either way, Memphis has its head coach... and not a moment to soon.


Another keeper...

According to comments made during an awkward Fox 13 News interview, Tiger forward Angel Garcia will stay at Memphis instead of transferring to the commonwealth, sitting out a year, and being further away from the Plush Club.

-The Pistolier

After seeing the following video, I move to dub him Andre the Garcia.

After the press conference, Taggart confirmed that he will test the NBA waters. He said that Pastner's hire makes it easier to return to Memphis if he does not make the jump to the NBA.

An Impromptu Elevator Interview

Being the Tomb’s only on-campus source, I look for certain situations where I can put my tuition to good use and bring the front line report.

Today’s encounter came when I walked up to the elevator in Wilder Tower and was dwarfed by the 6-8 300 pound frame of Memphis’ hit man, Pierre Henderson-Niles.

Pierre was texting or twittering or facebooking or myspacing or whatever you do when you are working two phones at the same time. But he was more than willing to talk about the recent news of new HC Josh Pastner. Willing, but not really a wealth of information: Eight floors later this is what I got.

TOD: Hey man, so are you staying next year?

PH-N: Yeah, I mean I’ll be here.

TOD: Cool, gonna get more playing time?

PH-N: (laughing) I hope so man.

TOD: Do you know if Tagg’s gonna stay?

PH-N: Man, I don’t know. Coach (Pastner) wants him to, but I don’t know.

TOD: I gotcha, well what to do think about the new coach?

PH-N: Ahh, coach Pass is cool. He’s gonna hold it down.

TOD: Yeah, do you know anything about the recruits?

PH-N: Who?

TOD: You know, Cousins, Xavier.

PH-N: Nah, man. I don’t know those dudes.

TOD: Yeah, well take it easy Pierre.

PH-N: (getting off the elevator) aight dude, cool.

As little as he said, he seemed pleased with the new hire of Josh Pastner, and Pierre should be looking at more playing time and experience next season. He’s no Joey Dorsey, but Pierre will benefit from Pastner. He has coached big men before and with a more hands on role with the players, Pastner might be able to get more production out of him than Cal could. Time will tell.


Nice work, JHob. The fact that you got out of that elevator with all your appendages intact is a victory. It's a pretty good sign that PHN speaks favorably of Pert Plus.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Josh 'Pert Plus' Pastner

Holla 'atcha boy! We have found us a coach!

Hot dang! ...Now, who is he?

Well for starters, he is Josh PASTNER, not Pasner as some news outlets and internet sites had. He is 31 years of age and was previously an assistant coach for the Tigers under John "Bluegrass" Calipari. Prior to his arrival at Memphis, he spent six years as an assistant coach under the legendary Lute Olsen at the University of Arizona, where he also played. Yeah, that's tenure under a pretty dang good ball coach and a pretty dang good used car salesman and hair stylist. He is a prolific recruiter; handling the majority of the recruiting duties at UofA and UofM and recently being named as the 7th ranked "high-major recruiter" in the country.

The only knock on Pastner, he has no head coaching experience at the college level. It's all good tho, according to, Pastner was the head coach of the "nationally-famous" Houston Hoops AAU program... AT THE AGE OF 16! And guess who played for him... Emeka Okafor. THIS GUY COACHED EMEKA OKAFOR AT AGE 16! He is a excellent big man coach, having coached Luke Walton and Channing Frye at Arizona. Just imagine what he could have done with Joey Dorsey! And maybe, just maybe, he can talk Tag into staying. And maybe, just maybe, just maybe, current former-recruit DeMarcus Cousins will recognize his talent as a big man instructor and remain committed to Memphis. And maybe he can keep some of our assistant coaches here as well. Pastner is also expected to approach Carl Henry, father of current Tiger CJ and former Tiger signee Xavier, to serve on his staff. All of this would certainly leave the the "Big Blue" with some big ol' blue balls.

Let us now speak of retention. Pastner loves Arizona. He is quoted in the same article as saying "I would love to come back here one day, but even if it's not coming back here in basketball terms, coming back here in the community. Tucson is my home." We could be setting ourselves up for another city-wide depression in 10 years. Pastner has no ties in Memphis. He was an assistant coach for one year. He is young, and a great recruiter. 'Zona could come calling once Miller leaves or fails. So, the Tomb of Doom Institute of Coach Retention has developed a blueprint for University of Memphis Athletic misDirector R.C. Johnson when negotiating Pastner's new deal. First, short-term deal. I know this seems counter-intuitive for retention, but let me explain: we sign him for 3 years, long enough to see whether or not he has what it takes. If he does, we give him a long-term extension before the third year even starts so RC's mom doesn't have to take him down to the Media Circus again. Secondly, with no head coaching experience, we should be able to get a bargain contract, somewhere in the range of $600,000. This would not be too much severance to pay if he ends up sucking. Thirdly, can we please please please get a realistic buyout clause in this contract? Few people know this, but Cal's buyout was only $200,000. He could have made that selling T-shirts of The Door on the corner of Southern and Normal. I want a buyout that will allow the city to throw a condolence party if he ever leaves... somewhere in the $4 million range. And we don't need to wait to put it in the long-term deal either, you put that junt in right now, RC.

I think this one will work Tiger fans.

-The Pistolier


According to and Commercial Appeal Josh Pastner is the new head coach of the University of Memphis Tigers. Pastner was on staff with Arizona for 6 years and was an elite recruiter. He also worked under Calipari at Memphis for a short time. By the way, he is only 30! A press conference is scheduled for Tuesday. So what do you think? Brilliant hire or another R.C. gaffe?

Bring Billy G! Sign the Billy Gillispie as the new Tigers Head Coach Petition!

Let's beat down the doors of the Athletic Department! The Tigers need a coach and Scott Drew has been the only feasible target of the AD! They need the fans help! Bring Billy Gillispie to Memphis! Sign this petition, which will go straight to the AD!

Billy Gillspie as the new Tigers Head Coach! Petition

Bring Billy G!


UPDATE: My apologies. I've been spelling Billy G's last name wrong. I abhor spelling errors, so I will receive public lashings every quarter hour until tomorrow for my egregious error.

The proper spelling of our future coach's name is Billy Gillispie.

Billy Gillespie (August 6, 1891 - July 2, 1981) was a football player for Sheffield United over a twenty year period from 1913-32, and scoring over 137 League and Cup goals in 492 games for the South Yorkshire side.

That's what happens when you don't look at Wikipedia closely enough.

My mistake.

Coach of the Year on the Next Tiger Coach...

Dan Wolken recently spoke to Coach of the Year, Bill Self, about his former assistant, Billy Gillespie. It was a positive endorsement.

The list of three possible coaches that was mentioned this weekend has fizzled, partly because of Scott Drew walking away (thank God). Avery Johnson has no business here, because he's never recruited and that's an essential part of being the coach at Memphis. Theus is the only name I've heard mentioned of that original three. He'd be a decent hire, but Gillespie's resume is more impressive than Reggie's. I also feel that Theus wants the spotlight, just as Cal always has. There is inherent danger in that type of person.

With every day that passes, the Tigers inch closer to obscurity. If we don't make a big hire, a lot of the national attention we'd been getting will be gone completely. Allow me to suggest...

Billy Gillespie. He is a good coach. He's turned around two programs. According to Self, he loves to recruit. There's a chance he'll bring his UK recruits with him wherever he coaches next, if he is hired this year. Why not give Billy G a chance?

I have been considering Gillespie lately, but on the heels of Self's endorsement, I've got him at the top of my list at this point. Bring on Billy G!

-JB: I do not speak for all the bloggers on the TOD in choosing to support Billy G as our new coach.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

i love him, i love him not, i love him, i love him not.....

Memphis' ridiculous search for a coach takes another turn. According to the Commercial Appeal Florida State's head coach Leonard Hamilton is now at the top of the list.
Who knew?! And now there is talk about Bill Gillespie. I didn't know there were trades in college basketball?

TripleA gives a rundown of the latest four coaches that Memphis may be interested in here.