Josh Pastner

Junior college transfer finally cleared to play at Memphis

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With Memphis losing its top four guards from last season, there’s plenty of room for newcomers and returnees alike to earn playing time in 2014-15. The late addition of Vanderbilt transfer Kedren Johnson will help matters, provided he’s granted immediate eligibility, but there’s another talented newcomer expected by some to make an immediate impact for Memphis.

Trahson Burrell averaged 25.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game as a sophomore at Lee College in Texas, and his versatility is something Memphis can use on the wing. The only issue: the NCAA had yet to clear Burrell for competition. That changed Thursday, as head coach Josh Pastner formally announced that Burrell has been cleared for game action. According to reports Burrell was on the court with his new teammates for the first time on Wednesday.

Adding a versatile player of Burrell’s caliber will give Memphis a needed boost, especially when considering the amount of perimeter experience the team lost at the end of last season. If Johnson can receive the waiver he needs to be eligible to play immediately, the Tigers’ perimeter depth concerns will have been addressed.

Among the returnees on the perimeter are Nick King, Kuran Iverson, Markel Crawford, who redshirted last season after suffering a knee injury, and Pookie Powell. Powell wasn’t available to play last season due to academic issues, but he was able to run the show for the team during its trip to Canada last month. That experience should help Powell given the fact that he wasn’t able to work out with the program in 2013-14.

SMU may be the favorite in the American Athletic Conference but they won’t lack for challengers, with defending national champion UConn, Cincinnati and Memphis considered to be the challengers. Getting Burrell cleared to play further strengthens Memphis’ status as a contender.

CBT PODCAST: Indiana, UCLA, Ben Simmons and Thanksgiving sides

Ben Simmons
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New podcast!

In today’s episode, we talk quite a bit about Ben Simmons. How good of a prospect is he? Why do people insist on calling him overrated? Does LSU actually have a shot at missing the NCAA tournament?

[MORE: Why scouts are down on Simmons]

[MORE: Will Simmons be relevant in March?]

We also talk about Indiana’s disappointing showing in Maui, just how good Vanderbilt and Kansas have looked, Marquette’s ability to bounce back and whether or not we should be concerned about North Carolina and Maryland.

Oh, and Thanksgiving sides.

Do people really call stuffing ‘dressing’?

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Kansas-Vandy in Maui, rivalries renewed in Bahamas

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 19 Vanderbilt vs. No. 5 Kansas, 10:00 p.m.

The title game of the Maui Invitational pits the two best teams in the tournament, as it should. Outside of the final 10 minutes of their loss to Michigan State, the Jayhawks have looked terrific this season. And while Selden was not at his best against the Spartans, he looked awesome in two games in Maui. Vanderbilt, on the other hand, is a tough team for them to matchup with, especially without time to prepare. They are loaded with shooters who surround Damian Jones, one of the best big men in the country. Combine all that with Kevin Stallings’ play-calling, and the ‘Dores are tough.

This should be appointment television.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 18 UConn vs. Michigan, 9:30 p.m.

The best matchup in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis pits two teams with terrific guard play that have question marks along their front court. The best individual matchup of the day may end up being Caris LeVert squaring off with Daniel Hamilton.


1. No. 10 Gonzaga vs. Washington, 12:00 p.m.: The Zags and their loaded front line get their first real test of the season against a Washington team that has been surprisingly good this year. This rivalry should be played every year. I wonder if it’s a coincidence they got matched up in the first round?

2. No. 13 Indiana vs. UNLV 5:00 p.m.: The Hoosiers have been a major disappointment out in Maui, while UNLV will look to bounce back after a loss to UCLA in their opener. Will Stephen Zimmerman be healthy enough to play?

3. Texas vs. No. 25 Texas A&M, 7:00 p.m.: All kinds of rivalries are being renewed out in the Bahamas. Another coincidence, I’m sure.

4. No. 2 Maryland at Rhode Island, 8:30 p.m.: The Terps have struggled their last two games against the likes of Illinois State and Rider. They can’t mess around against a quality team like URI.

5. Yale at No. 6 Duke, 7:00 p.m.: Yale nearly upset SMU at SMU. Duke is a different beast, but keep an eye on the Elis.


  • Lehigh at No. 12 Virginia, 7:00 p.m.
  • Arkansas State at No. 21 Oregon, 7:00 p.m.


  • Syracuse vs. Charlotte, 2:30 p.m.
  • Wake Forest vs. UCLA, 7:30 p.m.