Memphis is a city that routinely produces quite a bit of basketball talent, but the 2013 class has the potential to be something special.
There are currently four consensus top 50 recruits — Nick King, Johnathan Williams III, Austin Nichols, JaJuan Johnson — that go to high school in the city, and that doesn’t include Robert Hubbs, a top 15 recruit from a couple hours outside the city, or Markel Crawford.
Crawford is a top 100 recruit in his own right, one that had impressed during the spring and the summer prior to tearing his ACL in a tournament in Milwaukee. Perhaps it was a result of that injury — he’ll have surgery on Friday to repair it — that Crawford became the first member of the Class of 2013 to commit to play for his hometown school.
“Basically I was just praying, and God told me what to do when I woke up this morning,” Crawford told the Memphis Commercial Appeal, which first reported the commitment. “[Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire] had a whole [to do with the commitment]. He showed great support and he was on me the whole time.”
Pastner has room for five or six signees in this class, which will be the group that ushers in the Big East era for the Tigers. Think about that sales pitch: “You can become the face of the program that you’ve grown up cheering for your whole life as we make our way into one of the best basketball conferences in the country.” That’s not a hard sell before you throw in the fact that Pastner has already done a pretty good job at securing the best to come out of the city.
The question now becomes who else can he get?