Why the Memphis Tigers' Success Hinges on the Next Two Weeks
After everything seemed all but good for the Memphis Tigers this season, with the players decommitting and the rumors of current players possibly transferring, a big ray of late shone in.
It started when Miami-Dade big man Will Coleman decided to honor his original promise and play for the Tigers next season.
Coleman does not have the name of the other players Memphis lost, like Xavier Henry or DeMarcus Cousins, but Coleman is currently the No. 2-rated JUCO player in the country and could really add some much-needed depth for the Tigers' frontcourt and possibly even start.
Will Coleman is a 6'9", 265-pound athletic freak with the ability to jump through the roof and make a big impact with his shot blocking on the defensive end. He is already being compared to ex-Tiger great Joey Dorsey.
Many, including myself, thought this was it for the Tigers' recruiting class. Five-star high school players are simply not going to want to play for a first-time head coach right now.
After Memphis signee Xavier Henry decided to go to Kansas along with his brother, Memphis walk-on C.J. Henry, the race for Coney Island star Lance Stephenson was wide-open.
It looked like Stephenson was set to ether stay at home and play with St. John's or go to Collage Park and play for Gary Williams and the Maryland Terps.
It now looks like Stephenson did not even want to go to St. John's in the first place, and Gary Williams' system is too "structured" for his tastes.
The rumor right now is that Stephenson recently visited Arizona, is going to visit Memphis, and is set to decide between those two.
Stephenson is not the perfect player we could get, for my taste.
He is said to be a head case and a guy that wants all the attention, but there is no doubting his talent, and Josh Pastner bringing in a player of his caliber already as a first year coach would be huge for the program.
The player that looks like the number one target right now for Memphis is Alabama point guard Eric Bledsoe.
Bledsoe has really been a player on the rise the last few months and fits the Pastner system well, along with the team's urgent need at point guard.
Willie Kemp has really been a disappointment since his freshman year when he started.
Since his freshman year, Kemp has rarely gotten much playing time and has not really shown he is the answer for the Tigers at starting point guard next season.
Bledsoe has been sought after by just about every major program needing a point guard, including, who else, Kentucky.
Bledsoe visited Memphis last Friday, and it looks like he will decide between Memphis and Kentucky.
“I’m just looking for the opportunity to play ball and make it to the next level,” Bledsoe told a crowd of reporters in an interview broadcast on MyFoxMemphis.
He later said that he will try to make his decision next week.
The player that could play the biggest role in Bledsoe's signing with Memphis is a player that is not really looking at Memphis anymore, John Wall.
If No. 1 player John Wall decides to go to Kentucky, that would make Memphis the clear favorite to land Bledsoe, since Bledsoe would obviously not want to be Wall's backup for at least a season.
Unless a player on the Memphis roster has a big improvement, Bledsoe would probably be the starting point guard from day one for the Tigers.
The last highly touted player considering Memphis is Starkville, Mississippi native Latavious Williams.
Williams is probably the player that Memphis has the best chance of signing.
The No. 16 overall player according to Rivals.com is considering both Memphis and Georgetown.
It still is not certain that Williams will be academically eligible next season, but Williams' academic struggles and his wanting to play in a "free" system are probably what give Memphis a better chance of signing Williams than Georgetown.
Georgetown's high academic standards and half-court system are factors that would be looked at concerning his decision.
His announcement is said to come Monday, May 4.
If Memphis is able to sign at least one of the players mentioned, it would put the program back on the map in terms of recruiting.
John Calipari made Memphis what it is now with his stellar recruiting.
Let's see if Josh Pastner can do the same.
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