Saturday, April 18, 2009

2 Down, 2 to Go

Josh Pastner made his first two hires for his staff this week. This leaves only 2 more positions for him to fill on his staff (which have some promising prospects). When looking at Willis Wilson and Glynn Cyprien, the excitement should be growing for Tiger fans and the panic fading away. We got a recruiter and a teacher. Let's look at the resume's of the two. Glynn Cyprien is the recruiter. He has been on staffs at UNLV, Oklahoma State, New Mexico State, Arkansas, and his latest coaching stop was at Kentucky (interesting..). With the combined recruiting efforts of Pastner and Cyprien, I expect little, if any, recruiting drop off in the coming years. Cyprien is also very connected with Kentucky recruits C Daniel Orton and PG Eric Bledsoe. Orton has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI), but Bledsoe has not. Of course, since when has Calipari cared about LOI's. It has to work both ways right? This may be wishful thinking, but it just displays the possibilities.
Now let's look at Willis Wilson, the teacher. His coaching resume consists of spending 16 years as head coach at Rice, 2 years assisting at Stanford, and 4 years assisting at Rice. Wilson has coached at 2 schools since 1987. Talk about loyalty! Wilson is not coming here as a stepping stone. I believe the only way we lose him is a head coaching offer. This is the stability this program needs right now. It also gives players confidence that they will be given all the tools to reach their full potential.

Pastner now has 2 positions left to hire. One assistant coach and director of basketball operations. The two rumored to be up for this position are Jack Murphy of the Denver Nuggets' scouting department as a coach, and Greg Heiar, head coach of Chipola Junior College. Murphy brings the NBA connection that recruits like, and Heiar brings another vital recruiting connection. If these are the guys that round out the staff, we should be celebrating as Tiger fans. I know I will.
Jack Murphy

Greg Heiar

- Blake

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Why I Have Faith in Josh Pastner.

I want to panic about the future of Tiger Basketball, but there is something about Josh Pastner that just won't let me (...and I'm not referring to his boyish charm..weird). The more I read about and look into who Josh Pastner is, and where he has been; I can't help but be optimistic. Sure some may scoff at me or accuse me of wearing the proverbial rose colored glasses, but the guy is going to get the job done. (See Pastner is Prodigy post)

The latest panic with Tiger Basketball has come from a combination of our defecting recruiting class that seems to be washing up on the shore of the University of Lexington and our search for assistant coaches. I like to consider myself to be above the fray at times (after spending a good time in it) and try to look at the real situation with my emotions set aside.

Let's look at it from a recruit's perspective. Would you commit to a program that did not have any assistant coaches? If you say yes, you are an idiot. Really, if you think you could commit to a program with no assistant coaches, just stop reading now and go make your backyard wrestling video.................................
For those still around, I'll lay out my reasoning. When I was recruited for football coming out of high school, I would absolutely want to know who my offensive line coach was going to be. Rick Mallory at Memphis is one of the best around, and I had the utmost confidence that I would be coached by someone that would cultivate my talents. The same is true in any sport. We aren't going to have open tryouts or borrow players from the football team (which we did under Cal). The situation will not be as desperate as some make it out to be. With the current names that are said to be scheduled for an interview/already been interviewed, the players will follow after their hiring. We may not get the recruits that were on our list 1 month ago, but we will get our share of quality players.

Also consider this, all the top recruits for 2010 that were looking at Memphis, are still considering Memphis. A class consisting of Joe Jackson, Mardracus Wade, Tarik Black, and/or Co., would probably rank in the top 10-15 classes in the nation. I expect this to be a slight hiccup before the Tigers run off a few more 1 seeds, set some records, and bring us home that allusive national title. Pastner is Prodigy<-------- heard it hear first (not 2 days later in the CA!). Have a little faith Tiger fans.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Guido's Contract...

Find it here, in all it's adulterous splendor.

I'm just sayin

Being 31 and the head coach of an Elite Div 1 basketball program can be difficult. It is even more difficult when you look 21. I personally feel the coach's pain because I commonly am asked if my mom or dad is home when someone comes to my front door....shut up, its not funny. But to counter this misconception in the professional world I dress professionally. This is where Pastner and I differ. I have one thing to say to the coach;
He has appeared in the Commercial Appeal and on Good Morning Memphis wearing a blue polo shirt and khakis. He looked like an intern or team manager or like a freshman in high school (minus the Wallabees......wait his feet were under the desk. I bet Wallabees).
Exhibit A:
We know you are youthful and energetic. Be youthful and energetic in a suit! Because in a suit you look like a head coach!
Exhibit B:
I know this post isn't something you would see on Sportscenter or anything but it bothers me that when making appearances he wears polos and looks like a Dave Matthews Band concert goer when he should look like he just got the biggest job of his life....cause he did.
I'm just sayin....

Comedic Relief (And It Involves Man Berries)!

I watched my daily hour of Sportscenter last night, and caught the altercation between Boston's Ray Allen and Cleveland's Anderson "Wild Thing" Varejao. Cleveland was up big halfway through the 3rd quarter and Boston was at the charity stripe. Allen and Varejao got tangled up jockeying for position on a made free throw, when Varejao, knowing that Allen's arm was caught up between one of his Brazilian waxed arms and his body, slung Allen to the ground. Allen responded with a convenient left elbow that appeared to land at or near Varejao's man berries. An unphased Varejao (WOW), arms raised, continued to taunt Allen with his not so intimidating stare. Close-up super slow-mo instant replay confirmed Allen's retaliatory cheap shot. The funniest part of this clip is not the altercation, the fact that I get to use "man berries" in a blog post, or even Varejao's ridiculous chia pet hairdo, but the responses by Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson:

Van Gundy: "Wow, he didn't even bend Varejao over with that! I'm impressed by Varejao!
Jackson: "I'm not!"
(Synchronized laughter)

Ah yes, borderline homoeroticism invades NBA basketball.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Fitting End...

With all of the hooplah that surrounded Calipari and the search for a perfect coach, which by the way seemed a lot like a chick flick. Think about it, the school (girl) is looking for the perfect head coach (boyfriend) in guys like Theus (pretty boy), Johnson (popular boy), and Knight (the jock) when all along Pastner (cute friend who has always been there for you) was waiting for us to ask him (to prom) to coach. Anyway with all this malarkey surrounding the coach search we forgot that we just had an amazing season in what was suppose to be our rebuilding year and witnessed one of the greatest talents to play in the NCAA.
So I would now like to turn the attention away from our new boyfriend, i mean coach (stupid metaphors) and recognize the honors our great players have been awarded with recently as their college careers come to a close.
First I would like to look at the heart of the Memphis Tiger basketball team and my favorite player of the past 4 years, Antonio Anderson.
Anderson, pictured above with Captain Dingleberry of the SS Screw You Memphis, played whatever role the Tigers needed him to play. He has played with the likes of Shawne Williams, Rodney Carney, Derrick Rose, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Joey Dorsey and Preston Laird. And as the team changed with leaders like Rose and Laird he always remained the glue that held it all together.
Here are just some accolades he has achieved:
Winningest 4-year player in NCAA Division 1 history
2008-09 All-Conference USA Second Team
2009 Conference USA Spirit of Service
2008 Conference USA Tournament MVP
2007-08 Conference USA All-Defensive Team
2006-07 All-America Defensive Team
2006-07 Conference USA All-Defensive Team
2007 Conference USA All-Tournament Team

We will miss you, Tony.

Second I would like to recognize our big man that looks like a 12 year old, Robert Dozier.
Dozier, pictured here with John "Memphis is where I want to coach" Calipari, was like a Phil the groundhog for the Tigers. If he started off having a great game the Tigers had a great game but if he struggled early usually the Tigers struggled early. Weak and weird metaphor with the gopher analogy but I am spent after the chick flick metaphor.
Rob was also one of the winningest 4-year players in NCAA Division 1 history and was selected to be on the C-USA All Conference Team multiple times.
You will be missed, Baby Face.

Thirdly, Chance McGrady.
Chance(left), pictured here with Coach Butt Monkey, on the team.

And last but not least is Tyreke Evans.

Evans, pictured here with John "Wam bam thank you ma'am/your money is on the dresser" Calipari, is a ridiculous talent. We knew as Tiger fans that this was going to be probably be another great player that would inevitably leave the Tigers for the NBA after one season but that didn't stop him from making a huge impact on Memphis, the NCAA, and the nation.
The Tigers struggled at the beginning of the season without a point guard at the helm. But who could possibly follow Derrick Rose?! Tyreke Evans can. The similarities between the two players go as far as they played for the same team and thats about it. Their style of leadership and play is completely different and yet very dominant.
Here are some of the awards he has received from his very short time as a Memphis Tiger:
1. National Freshman of the Year from,, U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), The Sporting News, and
2. selected to, The Sporting News, and Freshman All-America squads
3. High-Major National Player of the Year
4. High-Major All-America first team pick
5. finalist for the 2008-09 Wooden Award
6. finalist for the Oscar Robertson Trophy
7. Conference USA Tournament MVP
8. Conference USA All Conference First Team
And the list goes on.....
Tyreke, you were a great Tiger and you will be missed. Good luck in the NBA. I hope you don't get picked up by the Grizzlies.....for your sake not ours.

From the Wreckage...

I'm sure most of you have heard by now of the tragic car accident that claimed the life of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart. After pitching an excellent game, the 22-year old pitcher was riding around with a few friends when a drunk driver (who had a suspended license and one prior conviction of DUI) ran a red light, struck the car in which Nick was riding, and killed three of the four passengers. The drunk driver fled the scene and was caught my officers soon after. Hopefully he'll find a nice group of friends in a prison cell very soon.

While Nick Adenhart has obviously received a lot of the attention, there were two other people killed in the accident. The following is a story about one of those two... Take a look.