That's a great question that I am asked a few times a day and one that I ponder myself. I look up and see the Lawson brothers have asked for a transfer, which turned into them going to Kansas, their dad is leaving the program as well, and then just today I see that Markel Crawford is leaving as well. That brings the exodus of Memphis players to 6. Yes, 6 players from last years squad won't be back! That's more than unfortunate. That's troubling. It show's there's some disfunction going on behind the scenes.
I grew up a Memphis basketball fan. I still affectionately call it Memphis State and I remember when the late Larry Finch was coaching the likes of Penny Hardaway, Billy Smith and David Vaughn in the Tomb of Doom. Those were the days! The program floated around a bit afterwards and then comes the man most Memphians love to hate, John Calipari. Regardless of how we feel now, he gave us some of the best basketball Memphis has ever seen. Then he bolted for Kentucky and the Josh Pastner years followed, which weren't terrible but the coach didn't fit. Now we are in the Tubby Smith era.
Something is going on over at the school because this hasn't been a new phenomenon. Players were bolting during the Pastner years as well. I don't believe 6 left in an offseason at any point to be fair. I do believe the way Tubby Smith coaches and recruits in addition to the demotion of the Lawson brothers father, Keelon, has a hand in all of this. What's even worse is that freshman guard Keon Clergoet, a player recruited to play for Smith at Texas Tech that came to Memphis when Tubby left to take the Memphis job, is also planning to leave the program. That's a big one. The kid that you recruited and followed you to Memphis doesn't want to play for you anymore? That's major. One positive for the Memphis team is that they over performed last year. This was before a colossal meltdown leading to the AAC tournament.
So I have to ask, was Tubby Smith the right hire by the University of Memphis? What do you feel is going on with the program? What do you think should happen to get the program in the right direction? Is it time to get Penny on staff? Are you going to remain a Tiger faithful or are you bolting the program as well?
Life is for Living,