Memphis Tigers Can Be Great, but Can Only Do It Within Its Heart

Dante' RobichauxContributor IMay 19, 2009


Are you serious man?

I know what you're saying right now sports world.

How can they even speak of greatness without Calipari and the recruits that left with him?

Oh, you mean the top rated recruits from the 2009 class, or the several other local products from the city that should be there now?

Okay, are you guys with me now?

I figured some of you wouldn't be. I'll clear it all up for you, because it's evident that you are lost.

This program shouldn't have seven scholarships hanging around.


Not this one with two one and done players, back to back seasons. I'm not saying D.Rose shouldn't have left or that Tyreke is making a mistake. All I'm saying is imagine Memphis with something to look forward to every year besides a top freshman recruit.

Do you remember when the 06-07 season team made it to the elite eight?

Yes, I thought you would, but before that year I bet you couldn't name a player on that team, and if so it's evident you named Chris Douglas-Roberts(CDR) just because he was great his junior season.

You guys, I'm talking about players, recruits, and commitments. That team had five Local Area players, not to mention four that played a big role in the teams winning season.

Think about fifth year senior Jeremy Hunt, who was clearly the best sixth-man in the conference. What about point guard Andre Allen, a natural born leader, or good energy freshman Willie Kemp from Bolivar, Tennessee and a then 285 pound Pierre Niles?

Memphis fans would come out to not only see the team win, but to support good local talent. Now, look at the roster and tell me who is still on it.

You finished looking yet?

Yeah, I know Willie Kemp and Pierre Niles.

Now, look again and see which underclassman the program has lost since then. Alright sports world listen up, I have Hashim Bailey, Kareem Cooper(transfers), and Tre'von Willis(transfer who starts for UNLV) just from the 06-07 season.

Now add the loss of D.Rose, CDR, Reke Havoc(Tyreke Evans), and Shawn Taggart to the NBA right along with this year's commits and transfer Matt Simpkins...a four star product from the 08 class.

The only veterans left over from the Cal era—other than Kemp and Niles—are senior Doneal Mack and a junior, who hasn't seen much of any playing time in Jeff Robinson.

Yes, Witherspoon and Sallie, but they have only been in Memphis one year.

If only Memphis does now what their ex-coach stopped doing right, they will be great. Stop letting local talent leave the city and draw some more fans in this year's drought of players.

In the last three years the program has missed on major local talent.

In 2006, they failed to get then five-star forward, now NBA first rounder Thad Young, 2007 four-star guard Mo Miller, 2008's five-star guard Elliot Williams, ESPN top 100 guard Terrico White, No. 27 ranked shooting guard Elgin Lee, and Mizzou's Lawrence Bowers. 

That's a lot, but this year they also lost Memphis's Briarcrest star athletes, No. 10 shooting guard Leslie Mcdonald to UNC and highly recruited power forward Johnie Williams to George Mason, along with good talent and some of the Tennessee's best in Reginald Buckner (Mississippi), Ferrakohn Hall (Seton Hall), and JUCO Myron Strong (SW Tennessee CC) in the 2009 class.

Imagine a roster with those players who are likely going to stay until at least their junior seasons at their programs. You have players loyal to the program, city, and fans. You would also attract a greater fan base.

Most importantly, you wouldn't have to scramble to get good players late in the recruiting because you would be loaded with talent. The only thing you would need is additions, not a class to bring in freshman starters.

Let's just see if the Tigers do the right thing in the near future.

Recruit local talent hard Josh Pastner! Don't pass up on 2010's All-American point guard Joe Johnson (White Station HS), talented fowards Cadarrio Macklin (Ridgeway HS) and Tarik Black (Ridgeway HS), or 2011's Highest ranked small forwards from the state Adonis Thomas (Melrose HS) graded at a 94 by ESPN, Cedric McAfee(Craigmont HS) graded an 80 so far, along with the highest ranked guard in the state, Andre Hollins from White Station High School.

All of these guys are local talent who would love to lead their city to a national championship.

What a great program Memphis can be with these local athletes.

Do you agree?

If you don't, I suggest you should.

Oh. I forgot there is a freshman guard on the ESPN Top 100 Player Watch from Briarcrest School in Memphis. This young man goes by the name of Demarc Richardson. Don't forget him, because you'll catch him in the final four with a white and blue jersey on.

Ha, "putting on for his city" as the song says. Memphis can and will be great if they do the right thing.

Do the right thing coach! Pastner! Pastner! Pastner!

I know some of you readers are saying UNC, Duke, Kentucky, UCLA, and UConn don't just recruit within their cities all the time.

Stop! Those programs can reload and stay prestige with any coaching change, but the locals Larry Finch, Penny Hardaway, Lorenzen Wright, Shawne Williams, Jeremy Hunt, Andre Allen, Antonio Burks, Elliot Perry, Anthony Douglass, and Cedric Henderson are forever loved in the city.

I think it's best tiger fans and recruits love the players and program, not just the coach this time around.

How many fans still love Cal?

We can hear and see chants from the Fedex Forum now. Go Tigers! Lets Go Tigers! We love you Joe Jackson! Lets Go Adonis! Great game Demarc! National Champs! Only the heart of Memphis fans can...