After decommitting from Kentucky, D.J. Jeffries and his father, Corey, clarified some of the logic behind that decision in a story on Wednesday with the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Speaking with Mark Giannotto, Corey Jeffries talked about the earlier story that Kentucky staff was “unprofessional” when D.J. was decommitting from the Wildcats. Jeffries clarified what happened by saying it was assistant coach Tony Barbee who was agitated, not head coach John Calipari.
“it wasn’t Cal that took it so bad. It was the main recruiter (assistant coach Tony Barbee),” Jeffries said to Giannotto.
It’s also interesting to note that Kentucky did not attend the last July live evaluation period game of Jeffries as he was disappointed that his future coaching staff didn’t take in his last ever grassroots game. While many recruits get criticized for wanting too much attention, it is fair of Jeffries to be a little upset that Kentucky didn’t send one assistant for his last game on of July.
Now that Jeffries has backed off of his commitment from Kentucky, many expect him to end up at Memphis, as Jeffries has already heard from Tigers head coach Penny Hardaway.
D.J. Jeffries’ father on Kentucky: ‘They were kind of unprofessional’
On Monday top 100 Class of 2019 prospect DJ Jeffries announced via Twitter that he was reopening his recruitment after verbally committing to Kentucky in March. When a prospect makes the decision to de-commit, it’s pretty much expected that there will be a negative reaction from a portion of the fan base.
But in the case of Jeffries, he apparently also had to deal with some negative feedback from the Kentucky coaching staff when informing them of his decision to reopen things. During an appearance of 92.9 FM in Memphis Tuesday morning, Jeffries’ father Corey said that in his view the coaches were “kind of unprofessional” regarding his son’s decision.
DJ Jeffries' father @CoreyJeffries10 on our show: "We talked with Kentucky (about the decision to de-commit), and it kinda shocked me. They were kinda unprofessional. They didn't handle the news the way I expected them to handle it, being professionals."
“We talked with Kentucky and it kind of shocked me. They were kind of unprofessional,” Jeffries said in the interview. “They didn’t handle the news the way I expected them to handle it.”
Of course a coaching staff will be disappointed when told that a recruit has decided to reopen things. The key in any instance is to not allow the disappointment to cross over into disrespect. What happened here? Only those who were part of that conversation can give a clear answer.
Obviously there is Corey Jeffries’ point of view on the discussion that occurred following his son’s decision, which is why it’s being discussed here. It would be good to know the Kentucky viewpoint on this situation, but NCAA rules don’t allow coaches to comment on an unsigned prospective student-athlete.
Jeffries has a clear connection to Memphis, as he played his grassroots basketball for the program formerly run by current Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway. And at the time of Jeffries’ commitment to Kentucky the Memphis basketball program was anything but stable, as rumors were swirling regarding the future of then-head coach Tubby Smith.
Memphis did not relieve Smith of his duties until March 15, three days after Jeffries committed to Kentucky. Of course the rumor mill had Hardaway as the clear favorite to replace Smith even before the move became official, but you can’t blame Jeffries and his family if the thought process at the time was to go with Kentucky rather than wait to see if Memphis was going to make a change.
According to Corey Jeffries, having a longstanding relationship with Hardaway is a factor in his son’s recruitment and that should come as a surprise to no one. While other high-major programs, including Mississippi State and LSU, have reached out to Jeffries in the aftermath of his de-commitment from Kentucky, it would be tough to blame anyone who views Memphis as the favorite at this point.
And with one of the top 2019 prospects in James Wiseman having both Kentucky and Memphis in his final eight — many believe those two schools are the clear favorites — this won’t be the last time the Wildcats and Tigers cross paths on the recruiting trail.
It’s hard to think of many things that could endear Penny Hardaway to Memphis fans any more than he already is as a hometown kid who played for the Tigers and went on to an iconic NBA career.
Flipping a recruit from John Calipari might well do it, though.
DJ Jeffries, a top-50 recruit from Memphis, has decommitted from Kentucky and will reopen his commitment, he announced Monday.
After careful consideration prayer and countless hours of consulting with my family I decided to reopen recruitment it was a hard decision but I am confident that taking my time to choose the right school for me to better myself educationally and athletically is the right choice pic.twitter.com/Pqc4QlVqfd
The speculation immediately centers on Jeffries’ future plans and if they include Memphis, where Hardaway was hired after Jeffries had already committed to the former Tigers coach Calipari and the Wildcats. Specifically, his father’s quote about Memphis from March before Hardaway’s hiring went official.
“We took a long look at Memphis,” he said according to John Martin of 92.9 FM in Memphis. “We can’t go on ‘ifs.’ It’s kinda crazy, because if Penny takes the job, then it would be something to take a long look at.”
The day DJ Jeffries committed to Kentucky, his father said this on our show (at that time, Penny to Memphis wasn't done): “We took a long look at Memphis. We can’t go on ‘ifs.’ It’s kinda crazy, because if Penny takes the job, then it would be something to take a long look at.”
Jeffries would be a major coup for Hardaway and Co. He’s a 6-foot-7 wing and a consensus top-50 player in the 2019 class with an offer list that included Florida and Kansas when he committed to Big Blue Nation. There’s an additional Memphis tie here as Jeffries is the nephew of former Tigers assistant Keelon Lawson, whose sons Dedric and K.J. played for the Tigers before transferring to Kansas after Keelon was demoted by then-coach Tubby Smith.
Hardaway doesn’t have coaching experience beyond the high school level, but his name recognition remains a major asset for him as he looks to build a program. If he’s able to parlay that into keeping a pair of Memphis kids in the city while thwarting not only Calipari but the rest of college basketball royalty, that’s an announcement that Memphis basketball is back in a big way.
Now, there’s plenty for Hardaway to execute between here and there, but the fact that not only does that scenario seem possible but entirely plausible is reason enough for Memphis fans to be ecstatic.
The college basketball season has come and gone, meaning that it is officially time for us to start looking forward to next year.
And what better way is there to do that than by publishing a Way-Too-Early Preseason Top 25!
DISCLAIMER: We don’t know about all of the NBA Draft decisions yet. Not even close. So if you see a * next to player’s name, it is because we are taking a guess — some more educated than others — on what he is going to be doing this spring.
Drop us a line here or @CBTonNBC if you see any names missing.
Here is the top 25:
1. KANSAS JAYHAWKS
Who’s gone: Devonte’ Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk, Malik Newman
Who do they add: Dedric Lawson, K.J. Lawson, Charlie Moore, Quentin Grimes, Devon Dotson, David McCormack
Projected starting lineup: Charlie Moore, Marcus Garrett, Quentin Grimes, Dedric Lawson, Udoka Azubuike
Losing Graham is a major, major blow for this program, but they had as much talent sitting out this season as any program in college basketball. Cal transfer Charlie Moore should be able to step in and handle the point guard duties – if that role isn’t taken over by Devon Dotson – while Dedric Lawson and K.J. Lawson will give Bill Self actual power forwards, something he has been yearning for the last two years. This team is talented, they are old, they are well coached and they have a functional point guard on their roster. There is a lot to like about the Jayhawks heading into next year.
2. GONZAGA BULLDOGS
Who’s gone: Silas Melson, Johnathan Williams III
Who do they add: Brandon Clarke, Joel Ayayi, Filip Petrušev, Greg Foster Jr.
I’m not fully convinced that I love Perkins as a point guard, but with Norvell and Kispert a year older and Hachimura and Tillie on the front line, the Zags have a chance to be really, really good once again. Throw in the transfer addition of Clarke and a couple more talented foreigners — Ayayi and Petrušev — and this is just about what you would expect for Gonzaga.
As always, there is quite a bit of turnover on the Kentucky roster. Six key pieces from last year are gone, while the Wildcats bring in yet another loaded recruiting class. I think the combination of incoming backcourt talent and the remaining front court veterans is going to be a fun combination for Kentucky fans to watch, even if they aren’t going to be able to shoot for another year. The question is going to be whether or not these freshmen can all come together, because there is only one player on the roster that has more than one year of college experience.
4. DUKE BLUE DEVILS
Who’s gone: Grayson Allen, Marvin Bagley III, Wendell Carter Jr., Trevon Duval, Gary Trent Jr.
Who do they add: Tre Jones, Cam Reddish, R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson, Joey Baker
Projected starting lineup: Tre Jones, Cam Reddish, R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson, Javin DeLaurier
The Blue Devils are a team that has a lot left to figure out. Bagley, Trent, Duval and Carter are all following Allen out the door, and it appears as if Bolden will be back for another season. I’m still torn on how this Duke team — which will likely end up starting four freshmen — will play. That has not always been the path to success, but the talent here is impossible to ignore. The big question with this group is going to be how well the pieces gel together and whether or not there is enough shooting (and willing defenders) to allow this group to play the way teams like Villanova, Golden State and Boston play. I explain that line of thinking more here.
Who do they add: Jahvon Quinerly, Cole Swider, Brandon Slater, Joe Cremo
Projected starting lineup: Jahvon Quinerly, Phil Booth, Jermaine Samuels, Eric Paschall, Cole Swider
Villanova did not fair well at the NBA early entry deadline, losing a pair of potential first round picks in DiVincenzo, who was the MOP of the Final Four and Spellman. As we noted here, Spellman is the piece that brings it all together for the Wildcats. I’m still willing to ride with the Wildcats, as I think they are more experienced than they will get credit for and because Jay Wright’s teams always have people ready to step in and contribute immediately. Expect a breakout year from Jermaine Samuels.
6. NEVADA WOLF PACK
Who’s gone: Kendell Stephens, Hallice Cooke
Who do they add: Tre’Shawn Thurman, Corey Henson, Jazz Johnson, Nisre Zouzoua, Kwame Hymes, Vince Lee, Trey Porter, Ehab Amin, Jordan Brown
Projected starting lineup: Caleb Martin, Cody Martin, Jordan Caroline, Trey Porter, Jordan Brown
Getting the Martin twins back is massive. Drew’s recovery from a torn achilles is also something that could be a problem. But this was a wildly talented team that came a point away from the Elite Eight despite losing their starting point guard and having their best player deal with a foot injury the last two months of the season. This is the best Nevada team since Kawhi and Jimmer were running roughshod over the league.
7. TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS
Who’s gone: James Daniel III
Who do they add: No one
Projected starting lineup: Lamonte’ Turner, Jordan Bone, Jordan Bowden, Admiral Schofield, Grant Williams
Tennessee won the SEC last season and returns literally everyone from that team outside of Daniel, who came off the bench. Williams was the SEC Player of the Year last year, and Rick Barnes has plenty of perimeter talent and switchable pieces at his disposal. There are also some young, talented pieces on this roster — Bone, Bowden, Yves Pons, Kyle Alexander — that still have room to develop. I don’t think it’s crazy to think Tennessee could end up making a run at a No. 1 seed.
8. VIRGINIA CAVALIERS
Who’s gone: Devon Hall, Isaiah Wilkins, Nigel Johnson
Who do they add: Kody Stattmann, Kihei Clark, Francisco Caffaro
Projected starting lineup: Ty Jerome, Kyle Guy, Deandre Hunter, Mamadi Diakite, Jack Salt
I’ll never doubt Virginia again (unless they are a No. 1 seed … kidding!), even when they are losing their best guard and their best defender. Hunter is ready to step up and be the star for this team, and I think Mamadi Diakite will have a chance to be an elite defensive presence. If there is a real concern here, it’s depth, but I trust Tony Bennett will be able to figure something out. Always trust in Tony.
9. KANSAS STATE WILDCATS
Who’s gone: No one
Who do they add: Shaun Williams
Projected starting lineup: Kamau Stokes, Barry Brown, Carter Diarra, Xavier Sneed, Dean Wade
This will probably be the highest that you see the Wildcats ranked heading into the season, but I really like this group. They have a crop of tough-minded, playmaking guards that can really get out and defend, and their best player might actually be a guy that the public at-large hasn’t really seen play in Wade. Bruce Weber is going to silence the haters!
10. NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS
Who’s gone: Joel Berry III, Theo Pinson, Jalek Felton
Who do they add: Coby White, Nassir Little, Rechon Black
Projected starting lineup: Coby White, Kenny Williams, Nassir Little, Cam Johnson, Luke Maye
Where you rank UNC in the preseason is going to depend entirely on two things: How good you think their freshmen — White and Little — are going to be, and what kind of development you expect out of Brandon Huffman, Sterling Manley and Garrison Brooks. Will there be a returning player in college basketball next season that is better than Luke Maye?
11. VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES
Who’s gone: Devin Wilson, Justin Bibbs
Who do they add: Jon Kabongo, Landers Nolley II, Jarren McAllister
Projected starting lineup: Justin Robinson, Ahmed Hill, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Chris Clarke, Kerry Blackshear
The Hokies bring back seven of their top eight players, but the key for this team is going to be the development of their rising sophomore class: Alexander-Walker, Wabissa Bede, P.J. Horne. We know how good Clarke, Robinson and Blackshear are, but if those three take a step forward we could be looking at a top ten team.
Auburn will lose Heron, who might have been their best player last season, but return everyone else from a team that won the SEC. Their guards are just so talented, and that was without Purifoy and Doughty. The health of McLemore, who suffered a dreadful ankle injury in February, will be critical, as well as the development of Chuma Okeke. But we saw what Pearl could do with these pieces last season, and that was with the FBI investigation hanging over their head.
13. MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
Who’s gone: Miles Bridges, Jaren Jackson, Ben Carter, Gavin Schilling, Tum Tum Nairn
Who do they add: Foster Loyer, Aaron Henry, Gabe Brown, Marcus Bingham Jr., Thomas Kithier
Projected starting lineup: Cassius Winston, Matt McQuaid, Josh Langford, Nick Ward, Xavier Tillman
I can’t help but look at this roster and see all the same issues that they had this past season, only without their two most talented players. Turnovers. Lack of star power. Some defensive issues. Winston has a chance to be a first-team all-Big Ten player, but Langford and Ward are going to have to live up to their potential. It feels like this group has nice pieces, but that those pieces doesn’t necessarily fit together. That said, who is better?
14. FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES
Who’s gone: Braian Angola, C.J. Walker, Brandon Allen
I really like this group in theory. They have a whole bunch of athletic, switchable wings that can score. Mann, Walker and Kabengele returning would be key, as would finding another point guard on the transfer market to replace C.J. Walker, who left the program. Getting Cofer back for a fifth-year is enormous.
15. MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS
Who’s gone: No one
Who do they add: Reggie Perry, Robert Woodard, Jethro Tshisumpa Mbiya, D.J. Stewart
Projected starting lineup: Lamar Peters, Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary Weatherspoon, Aric Holman, Abdul Ado
I am not totally sold on Ben Howland getting this thing going at Mississippi State, but this will be his most talented team. The Weatherspoon brothers are both going to be good players, Peters still intrigues some NBA teams and Holman should fill a role. Reggie Perry should be a nice addition and an impact player as well.
16. OREGON DUCKS
Who’s gone: Elijah Brown, MiKyle McIntosh, Troy Brown
Who do they add: Bol Bol, Louis King, Miles Norris, Will Richardson
Projected starting lineup: Payton Pritchard, Louis King, Paul White, Kenny Wooten, Bol Bol
For my money, Oregon’s season hung on whether or not Brown returned to school, and Ihe’s gone. Bol and King are both potential one-and-done players, and Wooten is an elite defensive prospect, but I’m in a wait and see mode with them. Personally, I’m not on the Bol Bol bandwagon, but I understand why he is, in theory, a high-level prospect.
17. UCLA BRUINS
Who’s gone: Aaron Holiday, Thomas Welsh, G.G. Goloman
Who do they add: Tyger Campbell, Shareef O’Neal, Moses Brown, Kenny Nwuba, David Singleton III, Jules Bernard, Cody Riley, Jalen Hill
Projected starting lineup: Jaylen Hands, Prince Ali, Kris Wilkes, Cody Riley, Moses Brown
This is a make or break year for Steve Alford. Odds seem pretty good that he’ll have every underclassmen except Aaron Holiday back, meaning that back-to-back top five-ish recruiting classes will be on campus. It’s time for the Bruins to put up or shut up, and I think they’ll be right there as a favorite to win the Pac-12.
18. TCU HORNED FROGS
Who’s gone: Kenrich Williams, Vlad Brodziansky, Ahmed Hamdy
Who do they add: Kendric Davis, Kaden Archie, Angus McWilliam, Yuat Alok, Russel Barlow Jr.
Projected starting lineup: Alex Robinson, Jaylen Fisher, Desmond Bane, Kouat Noi, Kevin Samuel
Losing Williams and Brodziansky is going to be a blow, but there are still plenty of pieces. Bane and Noi should be in line for breakout seasons, and Jamie Dixon going small-ball with a two-point guard look should be fun to watch.
19. LOUISVILLE CARDINALS
Who’s gone: Anas Mahmoud, Quentin Snider, Ray Spalding, Deng Adel
Who do they add: Chris Mack, Steve Enoch, Christian Cunningham
Projected starting lineup: Darius Perry, Dwayne Sutton, V.J. King, Steve Enoch, Malik Williams
How good of a coach do you think that Mack is? Because that is what this really comes down to. Even though the Cardinals lose Adel along with Spalding to the draft, there is enough talent on this roster to make an NCAA tournament — I think the evidence of that is that if the Cardinals hadn’t lost a fluke game to Virginia they would have been in the tournament last season. And all due respect to David Padgett, Mack is a better coach than he is right now.
West Virginia has survived losing program guys in past seasons, but Carter and Miles were responsible for turning West Virginia into Press Virginia. Calling them program guys is a disservice. So we’ll see how this plays out. At this point, I’m trusting that Bob Huggins will figure out a way to make it work.
21. N.C. STATE WOLFPACK
Who’s gone: Omer Yurtseven, Al Freeman, Abdul-Malik Abu, Lennard Freeman, Sam Hunt
Who do they add: C.J. Bryce, Devon Daniels, Blake Harris, Saddiq Bey, Jericole Hellems, Derek Funderburk, Ian Steere, Immanuel Bates
Kevin Keatts is going to miss Yurtseven, because he doesn’t have any size on his roster anymore. He does, however, have half-a-million guards on his roster, and all of them can play. That’s enough for me to bet on Keatts getting it done.
22. LSU Tigers
Who’s gone: Duop Reath, Randy Onwuasor, Aaron Epps, Jeremy Combs, Mayan Kiir, Galen Alexander
Who do they add: Naz Reid, Emmitt Williams, Javonte Smart, Darius Days, Kavell Bigby-Williams
LSU is really young. They are also really talented. Waters is so entertaining, and the incoming trio of Smart, Reid and Williams is very good. Effort will be a key, as will their ability to play together, but they have a chance to be really good.
23. CLEMSON TIGERS
Who’s gone: Gabe DeVoe, Donte Grantham, Mark Donnal
Who do they add: John Newman III, Hunter Tyson, Trey Jamison, Javan White
Projected starting lineup: Shelton Mitchell, Marcquise Reed, AJ Oliver, Aamir Simms, Elijah Thomas
With Mitchell and Reed back in the fold, plus Elijah Thomas in the paint, this has the makings of another team that will push for a top five seed.
Who do they add: Ignas Brazdeikis, David DeJulius, Brandon Johns, Adrian Nunez, Colin Castleton
Projected starting lineup: Zavier Simpson, Charles Matthews, Jordan Poole, Isaiah Livers, Jon Teske
Losing Wagner and Abdur-Rahkman, the program’s two best offensive weapons, are major blows for a team that struggled to score a season ago. Matthews’ decision to return is key and they will really be able to guard again, but one of their three big wings is going to need to take a major step forward for them offensively.
25. SYRACUSE ORANGE
Who’s gone: Matthew Moyer
Who do they add: Buddy Boeheim, Jalen Carey, Robert Braswell, Eli Hughes
Projected starting lineup: Tyus Battle, Franklin Howard, Oshae Brissett, Marek Dolezaj, Paschal Chukwu
The Orange have no depth and very little perimeter shooting this side of Buddy Boeheim, but with Tyus Battle back in the fold, I think this Orange team will be able to scrape together enough ugly, grind-it-out wins to be in and around the top 25 all season.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — League championships, the NCAA Tournament and another Final Four berth all accomplished by teams with a healthy dose of local talent — before sellout crowds.
High expectations for any college coach. For someone in their first college job, the combination easily could be just too much.
Not for Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway.
“I meet pressure head on,” Memphis’ newest coach said. “I mean I feel like I was born to do what I’m doing right now. I feel like I have a good enough staff and us as a crew and our team, I really love my team, and I feel like we can do whatever we really put our minds to that we can do. I don’t shy away from it. I know it’s there, but I’m ready for the challenge.”
Coaching his hometown Tigers seems like a perfect fit for the man known locally as just Penny. And fans desperate to reclaim past glory see the Memphis native who grew up here, played at then-Memphis State for another local legend in Larry Finch and returned to town when his All-Star career in the NBA ended as the man to restore the program to the glory that includes three Final Fours — even if only one still counts on the books.
Hardaway, who turns 47 in July, shares those same standards for the Tigers.
“That was my entire mindset coming in,” Hardaway said. “I wasn’t going to shy away from competition. I wasn’t going to shy away from saying what I really felt and what I meant. And I do want to get this team back to where it was. Getting to the Final Fours, getting to the championship games. But sealing the deal whenever we get back.”
What the charismatic Hardaway has done in less than three months on the job has cranked optimism higher than ever, and it’s paying off already.
Attendance had dropped to 4,583 per game last season, worst in nearly 50 years. By dipping so low, the university missed out on any revenue sharing from playing games at the FedExForum and the NBA’s Grizzlies. Donations to the athletic department dipped more than $1 million in the 2017 fiscal year with Memphis on the hook for nearly $10 million after firing Tubby Smith two seasons into his contract.
Now Memphis is expecting season ticket sales and donations around $4.5 million for the 2019 fiscal year with men’s basketball the big draw. Hardaway gave the university’s bottom line a big boost too by agreeing to a three-year deal paying $1.3 million this season, much less than the $3.25 million Smith was due.
That’s the result of the confidence in Hardaway whose basketball resume features 14 seasons in the NBA as a player and three straight Tennessee high school championships and an AAU program as a coach.
“I took a public high school from not being ranked to being No. 1 in the country and an AAU program that was just starting out to being No. 1 in the country, so my track record is pretty good,” Hardaway said. “When it comes to my coaching, a lot of kids and their parents have seen me coach on the EYBO circuit when I was able to coach. And then my experience in the NBA, that all just puts the icing on the cake.”
First, the coach with his own signature shoe turned over half the roster in high style, riding to visits in a customized Mercedes van featuring his own personal logo in the headrests. He added seven players including point guard Alex Lomax following him from East High to land the nation’s 19th-best recruiting class by Rivals.com . Hardaway now is competing for the No. 1 player in 2019 — Memphis native James Wiseman — against Kentucky coach John Calipari.
Hardaway convinced Mike Miller, with his two NBA championships, to join him and hired Tony Madlock away from Mississippi. Sam Mitchell, a former NBA head coach and player, also is being added to the coaching staff. Memphis just opened a new building for men’s basketball last December, and Hardaway wants to add some shooting guns to the practice court and upgrades to the lounge to bring the facility up to NBA-level.
It’s all part of Hardaway’s sales pitch for players wanting to reach the NBA.
“That message spoke loudly to these kids that we’re trying to get to our program back to where it used to be and that we wanted them to be a big part of it and if they wanted to go further, that we could help them get further to understand what it takes on and off the court to get to the NBA,” Hardaway said.
The Tigers haven’t reached the NCAA Tournament since 2014 and last played in the Sweet 16 in 2009 — just before Calipari ditched Memphis for Kentucky. Hardaway has toughened up the nonconference schedule as well with cross-state rival Tennessee among the teams added for the upcoming season.
It’s a combination Hardaway believes will test both himself as a coach and his team and make Tigers’ basketball must-see TV again for a program considered family for so many people in Memphis.
“I’m ready, I’m very eager,” Hardaway said. “I took this job knowing that I was ready for it, and I’m all in right now.”
Memphis and new head coach Penny Hardaway continue to land quality talent as the Tigers pulled in Louisville transfer forward Lance Thomas on Friday.
A former top-150 recruit in the Class of 2017, the 6-foot-8 forward never got settled in with the Cardinals as he only played in 50 minutes during his freshman season.
Although NCAA rules normally force transfers to sit out a season if they haven’t graduated, Thomas plans on filing for a waiver that would allow him to play as early as next season, according to a report from Mark Giannotto of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. Thomas is arguing that his freshman season at Louisville changed after head coach Rick Pitino was fired before the season even started.
If Memphis gets Thomas next season, it would significantly help their frontcourt depth as Thomas could potentially see a healthy amount of minutes.
Since taking over the Memphis program a few months ago, Hardaway has landed a quality six-man recruiting class that includes three four-star guards. By getting Thomas, the Tigers bring in a frontcourt piece with some upside to compliment the group of freshman guards.
Thomas has three years of eligibility remaining — regardless of what the NCAA rules with a potential waiver — so Hardaway and his staff will have plenty of time to work with him over the next several years.