D’Marnier Cunningham

JUCO transfer guard eligible to play at Memphis on December 12

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Slowly but surely, Memphis head coach Josh Pastner is learning when the remaining pieces of his backcourt rotation will be available to play in games.

Thursday he announced that junior college transfer D’Marnier Cunningham will be eligible to play in games at the end of the fall semester, with the first game that he would be able to participate in falling on December 13. The semester ends the day prior, with the Tigers hosting Oklahoma State on the 13th.

As a sophomore at Kaskaskia College in Iowa the 6-foot-1 Cunningham posted averages of 14.8 points and 5.5 assists per game, shooting 44.7% from the field and 35.2% from beyond the arc.

Cunningham will give Memphis additional depth on the perimeter, joining a group that includes wings Kuran Iverson and Nick King, redshirt freshman Markel Crawford and sophomores Pookie Powell and Avery Woodson. But what this group lacks is experience, an issue that would be rectified (somewhat) by the addition of Vanderbilt transfer Kedren Johnson.

Johnson’s request for a waiver that would allow him to play immediately has yet to be ruled on by the NCAA, meaning that he and Memphis remain in limbo with regards to his status for this season. In 2012-13 Johnson averaged 13.5 points and 3.6 assists per game at Vanderbilt, numbers that are higher than any produced by Memphis’ remaining guards at the Division I level.

So while the news regarding Cunningham is good (once he’s able to play in games), there’s another important decision that the Tigers are waiting for.