When the NCAA cleared Will Barton to play for Memphis this season, he promised to make the most of the opportunity.
And by the most, he means a national title. Cue the bold statement:
“We’re going to win the national championship this year,” Barton said. “I’m guaranteeing it!”
That’s from a story by Dan Wolken of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, who watched Barton make his declaration to fans at the Memphis “High Tops” party. Too much coming from a guy who’s yet to play a college game? Maybe. But that’s not always a bad thing.
As Wolken writes, confidence is a healthy thing for the Tigers, who welcome one of the nation’s top recruiting classes and newly raised expectations under second-year coach Josh Pastner. The swagger the program had under John Calipari is necessary to remain among college hoops’ best. Pastner knows it and is embracing it. Hell, he might’ve nudged Barton in that direction.
“We’re excited about the expectations,” Pastner said. “That’s why this is one of the elite programs in the country. I want to get back to where the bull’s-eye is on us every game.”
No problem there. After Wolken’s story ran, Barton caught a little heat for his quote. But he doesn’t care, and said as much on Twitter.
Everybody making a big fuss abt me guaranteeing we win the national championship but I don’t see what the big deal is. What was I suppose 2 say? We gonna go 2 NCAA tournament. Think big & do it bigger.
Mental note: Start keeping a list of Will Barton quotes. He’s gonna be just as entertaining off the court as he will be on it.