Point guard Pookie Powell was originally expected to be a member of Memphis’ highly regarded freshman class this season, however those plans were scuttled when the NCAA did not clear Powell academically. That didn’t turn out to be a huge issue for the Tigers, with their four senior guards in line to receive the majority of the minutes anyway.
But with that came the expectation that after sitting out the 2013-14 season, Powell (who wasn’t allowed to practice with the team) would be the most likely option to take over the point guard duties in 2014-15. That won’t be happening however, as it was reported by Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal that Powell has decided to transfer.
Powell’s father said the following to Smith in regards to the reason for his son’s decision to leave:
“The reason is a basic conflict of interest with coach (Josh) Pastner that apparently couldn’t be settled,” Powell’s father said.
Powell’s departure does hurt from a depth standpoint, but experience-wise the Tigers were going to be incredibly young on the perimeter either way. None of the three options mentioned by Smith, redshirt freshman Markel Crawford, incoming freshman Dominic Magee and junior college transfer Avery Woodson, have played a game at the Division I level.
With that being the case, it will be interesting to see if head coach Josh Pastner takes a look at the graduate transfer market this offseason. Michael Dixon Jr. was a one-year transfer this season, posting averages of 11.8 points and 2.4 assists per game and winning American Athletic Conference Sixth Man of the Year honors.
Stanford guard Marcus Allen will be out indefinitely after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot, the school announced on Monday evening.
“We want to make sure Marcus is fully healthy before returning to the court,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said in a statement. “Marcus played at a high level during our summer exhibition competition in Italy, where he was one of our leading scorers. We will certainly miss him as we continue to prepare for the season, but we are fortunate that this happened now and he will be back before he knows it.”
The loss of Allen is a potentially brutal blow in an already-thin back court. The 6-foot-3 Allen started 23 games as a sophomore last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.5 boards. But he averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 boards as the Cardinal made a run to the NIT championship and looked poised to be able to replace the departed Chasson Randle’s production this year.
What’s worse is that without Allen, Stanford does not return a single player in their back court that averaged more than 11.5 minutes. Sophomore Robert Cartwright looks poised to step into the starting point guard role, but neither Dorian Pickens nor Christian Sanders looked like they were ready for that kind of role in the Pac-12 last season. Dawkins does return Malcolm Allen, Marcus’ twin brother, who sat out last season with a broken wrist.
The good news is that Stanford’s front court is strong enough to carry the Cardinal until Marcus is healthy. Rosco Allen, Reid Travis and Michael Humphrey will be able to hold their own against any front line in the Pac-12, while Grant Verhoeven and freshman Josh Sharma will provide adequate depth.
Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.
Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.
Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.