2012-2013 Overall Rank: #18
Conference Rank: #1 Conference USA
Memphis Team Page
The lack of experience at Memphis has been very apparent during March. Last year the Tigers lost to Saint Louis in the round of 64 of the NCAA Tournament. A season earlier they also lost in the first round. The year before that, back in 2009-2010, the Tigers were left out and went to the NIT. Experience is less of an issue this time around. The Tigers have ten upperclassmen on the roster. While that obviously does not guarantee success, this is a group that should not be overwhelmed in March like many of Coach Josh Pastner’s other squads.
2011-12 Record: 26-9, 13-3
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Josh Pastner
Coach Record: 75-29 at Memphis, 75-29 overall
The few losses are pretty big ones. Most notable is swingman Will Barton. During the 2011-2012 campaign he led the Tigers with 18.0 points and 8.0 rebounds. He even added 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals per contest. Barton was a capable shooter, but he had little trouble beating most opposing defenders off of the dribble and finishing around the basket. Memphis has other players who can make things happen, although Barton was a good player to have on the floor during those rare occasions when the shot clock was running down. Perhaps more importantly, the Tigers struggled on the glass at times last season and losing a great rebounding wing like Barton is a big deal. Wesley Witherspoon did some rebounding too during his senior season. The versatile 6-9 forward never really reached his vast potential, but Witherspoon still started a handful of games and finished many more. Charles Carmouche is taking his game back on the road after playing in just seven games for Memphis; this time landing at LSU.
Memphis has a couple newcomers who should make an immediate impact. Shaq Goodwin is the big name recruit of this class. The 6-9, 246 pound Atlanta, Georgia product will be asked to immediately bolster the frontcourt in the rebounding department. He has the size and strength to do that. But sooner or later Goodwin will also turn into a fine interior scorer and a major presence on the defensive end. If that happens this year, he will be a putting up some big numbers. Geron Johnson, a junior college transfer guard, could add yet another great player to the backcourt if he can stay out of trouble. Small forward Damien Wilson and walk-on point guard Anthony Cole will not likely see much playing time as freshmen.
Who to Watch:
If Johnson plays as well as many expect, the Tigers will have an amazing amount of talent on the perimeter. Joe Jackson and Chris Crawford are both quality ball handlers. Jackson is a bit more of a true point guard, although he is not opposed to attacking the basket and finishing himself. During his sophomore season he averaged 11.0 points and 3.9 assists. Crawford was not far behind Jackson when it came to scoring and passing, averaging 9.1 points and 3.8 assists. But their games are quite different. Crawford is a great shooter and really the only proven long ball threat on the team. Crawford is also a very good athlete who led the Tigers in steals as a sophomore and he can even use his 6-4 frame and great leaping ability to block some shots and help out on the glass. Just who starts on the wing remains to be seen. Coach Pastner has a couple great options though. Antonio Barton and Adonis Thomas will have to compete with Johnson for most of the minutes. Barton is mostly a two guard, but he could spend some time at the three position as well. He is a bit undersized for that, which would be problematic for an already questionable rebounding team, but Barton is a good shooter who could see a huge increase in scoring if he gets more shooting opportunities. Adonis Thomas would add more size to the position. After a disappointing freshman campaign due to an ankle injury, Thomas is ready to show the world why he was such a highly regarded recruit. In limited action during the 2011-2012 campaign, Thomas proved that he could score from anywhere on the floor. D.J. Stephens will add experienced depth off of the bench.
Memphis could play small with Thomas hanging out at the power forward position. That may work against many teams in Conference USA, but the rebounding would again be a big problem. That leaves Tarik Black, Ferrakohn Hall and Stan Simpson to join Goodwin in the frontcourt. Black makes a much bigger impression than his numbers would indicate, but he is still a double-digit scorer. However, Black will need to help out more on the glass. Ferrakohn Hall is a great roleplayer who earned 23 starts as a junior. He may not start that much this year, but he should keep up with his 16.7 minutes per game. He will do the dirty work in the paint. Stan Simpson barely played during the 2011-2012 campaign, but he is another experienced big body who can eat up some fouls and help out in the rebounding department. The frontcourt may not be flashy, but if they do better on the glass, the Memphis backcourt can do the rest to get this team back to the NCAA Tournament and, possibly, even win a game or two.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Joe Jackson, Junior, Guard, 11.0 points per game
Chris Crawford, Junior, Guard, 9.1 points per game
Antonio Barton, Junior, Guard, 6.6 points per game
Shaq Goodwin, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Tarik Black, Junior, Forward, 10.7 points per game
Madness 2013 NBA Draft Rankings:
#12 Adonis Thomas
#54 Tarik Black
Madness 2012 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#30 Shaquille Goodwin
#105 Damien Wilson