The above image is probably the most telling when it comes to Memphis Tigers basketball as of late.
Not only does the defeated demeanor depict the recent Tigers team, but the actual number of players shown does, too.
As of today, April 14, 2009, the Memphis Tigers have six—count 'em, six—players on scholarship.
Those players are Wesley Witherspoon, Willie Kemp, Pierre Henderson-Niles, Doneal Mack, Roburt Sallie, and Angel Garcia.
The status of Matt Simpkins, who was with the team for a miniscule portion of last season due to academic obstacles and a suspension, is undetermined at this point.
Shawn Taggart is testing the NBA waters. I've checked on numerous mock draft sites, including trusted DraftExpress, and his name is nowhere to be found. Unless he decides to play in Europe, Taggart should return.
From everything that I've heard, including from the horse's mouth (Witherspoon), everyone is staying put.
Witherspoon and Garcia apparently like it at Memphis. Kemp, Henderson-Niles, and Mack are all seniors, so it would be pretty pointless for them to transfer this late in their careers.
As far as Sallie goes, he seems to be the one who least likes it at Memphis. However, I think that the way he landed at Memphis and the events that transpired prior will, in the end, persuade him to remain here at Memphis. The guy really needs some continuity in his life.
That's the six players on scholarship that we know for a fact are staying put. Taggart and Simpkins could easily be added to this list down the road, but, as of today, those are the six.
CJ Henry—the brother of Xavier Henry, who walked on at Memphis last year—will likely get the appeal from the NCAA and follow his brother.
Now, onto the debacle that is the incoming recruit(s) status(es).
Xavier Henry is gone. He has been released from his NLI and will ultimately end up at Kansas, I believe.
Demarcus Cousins is gone. He de-committed and is on his way to Lexington.
John Wall, who was believed to be very close to committing to the Tigers, is likely going to end up at Baylor or Duke.
Nolan Dennis has been released from his NLI and is lobbying for a spot on the Kentucky roster.
(Wow. What a whirlwind of events, and we're not even finished.)
After all this, the Memphis Tigers were left with only two incoming recruits: Darnell Dodson and Will Coleman of Miami-Dade Community College.
And it looks like they'll be gone, too.
Reports are surfacing that Calipari has his hand in re-recruiting these guys and that they may potentially ask to be released from their NLIs, contrary to what the man said just this morning on the Dan Patrick Show. This interview can be found here.
(I think, at this point, Memphis fans have learned to take anything Calipari says with a grain of salt. The guy is clearly a walking fabrication.)
So, after being gutted like a fish, fans are imploring:
Where does that leave the 2009-10 Memphis Tigers?
The answer, in short:
Don't get me wrong, Memphis fans. There are still quality players out there who can help contribute to this team.
The only problem is that there aren't many players who are going to allow Pastner time to create a relationship and recruit them like it's the summer or early fall.
With each passing day, the window of time gets only more narrow.
In Pastner's defense, however, the guy is working as diligently as possible. And he'll get some guys. They won't be flashy, but he'll get some guys. I have a list of players who I think Pastner will actively pursue.
First and foremost, Latavious Williams. He's the No. 6 power forward in the country. Memphis is high on his list, as is Georgetown. However, he is having problems academically, and I don't know if Georgetown is the place to go if you're having problems in that field. Just saying. He also says that being close to home is important to him. Hailing from Starkville, Mississippi, he would only be a few hours away from home.
Another intriguing name that pops up is Ferrakohn Hall, out of hometown high school White Station. He is a three-star recruit, and at 6'7" and 210 pounds, Hall could immediately contribute to the Tigers. Pastner has openly stated that he wants to start from the inside out, and this would be the perfect time to do so.
Eric Bledsoe is reportedly interested in Memphis. I think that getting Bledsoe would be a long shot, but, of course, anything is possible. He would be a great complement to Willie Kemp and could learn the ropes behind a senior.
I have no idea, at this point, who will be on the Tiger roster next year besides the ones who are already on. These are just names that are surfacing and names that could ultimately land here. Who knows?
And, as it is a Memphis article, you know there has to be a jab at Calipari.
We have six scholarship players right now. That's less than what we had when Calipari arrived here nine years ago.
It's common courtesy to leave something off better than you found it.
I think Calipari skipped the ethics classes in school.
(Leroy Watson is reportedly mulling a scholarship offer from the University of Memphis. He's only 5'11", but he has a wingspan of 7'0" and a vertical leap of 38'. The only problem that is arising is his question of eligibility. He's been out of high school for quite a while...Just poking fun, Leroy!)