Posted on: May 30, 2011 2:03 pm

Source: Pastner hiring Stoudamire at Memphis

Josh Pastner is hiring former NBA Rookie of the Year Damon Stoudamire as an assistant on the Memphis staff, a source told CBSSports.com on Monday.

A formal announcement is expected soon.

Stoudamire, 37, played at Arizona like Pastner and has been an assistant with the Memphis Grizzlies since 2009. He spent 13 seasons as a player in the NBA and will join Jack Murphy on the Tigers staff. Pastner still has one spot left to fill because Willis Wilson and Glynn Cyprien both left after last season. Wilson took the head coaching position at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Cyprien is now an assistant for Billy Kennedy at Texas A&M.
Posted on: April 2, 2011 4:26 pm
Edited on: April 2, 2011 5:09 pm

Former Memphis coach Finch dies

Larry Finch, who led Memphis (then Memphis State) to the 1973 Final Four and later coached the Tigers for 11 seasons, died Saturday at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis.

He was 60.

Finch is the winningest coach in school history.

He coached the Tigers from 1986 to 1997 and made six NCAA tournaments.

His health had been poor since suffering multiple strokes in 2001.

"My thoughts are with the friends and family of former Memphis player and coach, Larry Finch," former Memphis coach and current Kentucky coach John Calipari Tweeted Saturday just hours before he was to coach Kentucky against Connecticut in the Final Four.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 29, 2011 2:19 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 3:01 pm

Source: Memphis and Pastner agree to extension

Memphis officials have reached a deal on a five-year contract extension for men's basketball coach Josh Pastner, a source told CBSSports.com early Tuesday.

The school subsequently confirmed the CBSSports.com report.

Pastner's new contract is worth $1.7 million annually.

"We are delighted that Coach Pastner has accepted our contract offer and will remain as our basketball coach for years to come,” said Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson. “He is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting young coaches in the country, and we anticipate continued growth for our basketball program."

Pastner had been linked to openings at N.C. State, Missouri and Oklahoma in recent days. He just took Memphis to the NCAA tournament and should return a preseason Top 25 team next season headlined by Will Barton, Joe Jackson, Tarik Black and incoming freshman Adonis Thomas, a McDonald's All-American from Melrose High in Memphis

"I have stated numerous times that the Memphis basketball job is one of the top five jobs in the country,” Pastner said. “I am most appreciative of the opportunity and understand the responsibility I was presented by R.C. Johnson to coach this team. We have everything we need to be successful and build championship caliber teams. From a modern arena, to a great practice facility, to one of the strongest fan bases in the nation, to an outstanding recruiting area, Tiger basketball is one of the top five programs in the country and should always remain at that elite level."

Pastner is 49-20 in two years with the Tigers.

He replaced John Calipari in April 2009.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 12, 2011 2:56 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2011 3:07 pm

Josh Pastner's life just got a whole lot easier

Three Saturdays ago Memphis lost at UTEP by 27 points.

Joe Jackson played 14 minutes.

And that's about the time some fans started openly wondering whether Josh Pastner was built to be a longterm successor to John Calipari while rumors began circulating that Jackson, a high school legend turned struggling freshman reserve, might transfer out of his hometown program. Four days later, Jackson played nine minutes in a loss to East Carolina and the frustration intensified. All of which made what happened Saturday unpredictable and unbelievable.

Memphis 67, UTEP 66.

In El Paso.

For the C-USA tournament title.

The MVP?

That was Joe Jackson -- thanks to a pair of free throws that took Memphis from down one to up one in the final seconds. The kid with the "King of Memphis" tattoo across his chest who seemed lost and demoralized less than a month ago finished with 17 points a day after dropping a career-high 24 points on East Carolina in the C-USA semifinals. So this Memphis team that began the season nationally ranked before struggling to a 10-6 league record that caused their 33-year-old second-year coach to face questions about his future is now headed to the NCAA tournament with C-USA's automatic bid, and Jackson suddenly looks like the McDonald's All-American whose commitment helped bring those preseason expectations to begin with. It's a remarkable turn of events for a program that's still recovering from Calipari's exit. More than anything, though, it's a development that'll go a long way in allowing Pastner to regain the confidence of his fan base, Jackson the confidence of his past.

Three Saturdays ago, both seemed confused and overwhelmed by their situations.

But now they're right where they were supposed to be all along -- in the NCAA tournament as C-USA champions.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 20, 2011 4:39 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2011 4:46 pm

Witherspoon reinstated but ailing

Memphis coach Josh Pastner told CBSSports.com on Thursday that Wesley Witherspoon has been reinstated to the team but added that the junior forward will not play Saturday at UAB because of an ailing knee that figures to hold him out of pregame practices.

"Wesley will not practice today or tomorrow," Pastner said. "His knee has been bothering him so I am going to hold him out of practice and, obviously, if he doesn't practice he won't play Saturday."

Witherspoon, who had knee surgery in December, was suspended for two games following last week's loss at SMU. Pastner has declined to discuss the reason for the suspension, but multiple sources told CBSSports.com last week that it was the result of Witherspoon mocking an assistant on a bus after the SMU loss.

"[Wesley not practicing now] has nothing to do with any discipline," Pastner said. "It's strictly based on cautious and preventive measures with his knee. The discipline thing is done with. This is fresh and clean starting today. The reason he won't practice and play this weekend is strictly due to health concerns."

Witherspoon is averaging 11.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.

The Tigers are 14-4 overall and tied for first in C-USA with a 3-1 league record.
Posted on: January 14, 2011 8:25 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2011 8:40 pm

Details of Witherspoon's suspension emerge

There's been some confusion about what exactly triggered Wesley Witherspoon's suspension from Memphis.

Here's the deal (according to a source): The Tigers lost 64-58 at SMU on Wednesday, showered, dressed and filed into a bus that took them to the airport in Dallas. Nobody said a word. They then got on their chartered plane, flew home and landed in Memphis without incident, at which point the coaches got into their personal vehicles and drove home while the players got on a bus there to transport them to campus. And it was at some point during that drive -- the drive from the airport in Memphis to the Memphis campus -- when Witherspoon used the bus' loud speaker to do an impersonation of one of Josh Pastner's assistants.

"It happened, but it didn't happen in front of the coaches," a source said. "The coaches weren't on that bus. Wesley would've never done that in front of the coaches."

Pastner was informed of Witherspoon's antics after the fact because somebody on the bus told somebody close to Pastner. Upon hearing what Witherspoon did, Pastner immediately suspended the 6-foot-9 forward because, a source said, the second-year coach thought mocking an assistant after a disappointing loss was simply "unacceptable," particularly for a supposed leader on a roster comprised mostly of first-year players. It's the latest move Pastner has made to try to change Witherspoon's attitude. Whether it'll work remains unclear.

There is no timetable for a possible Witherspoon return.

He will not be in uniform Saturday when the Tigers host Marshall at FedExForum.
Posted on: January 13, 2011 6:41 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2011 7:30 pm

Memphis suspends Witherspoon

Memphis coach Josh Pastner announced Thursday that he has suspended Wesley Witherspoon.

There is no timetable for a return.

Witherspoon was averaging 11.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game for the Tigers, who are 12-4 and among the nation's most disappointing teams. They lost at SMU on Wednesday and are 1-1 in Conference USA heading into Saturday's game against Marshall. Memphis was ranked as high as 13th in the AP poll earlier this season.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 6, 2011 12:50 am
Edited on: January 6, 2011 1:43 am

Note to ranked teams: Beware of Vols

Final score: Unranked Tennessee 104, No. 21 Memphis 84

So now Bruce Pearl's suspension is on deck and his Tennessee Vols officially (if only temporarily) belong to associate head coach Tony Jones. First thing Jones should do is put a number beside Arkansas' name. Just get a schedule and grab a marker and write a number beside the Razorbacks. Anything between one and 25 will do. Something like 17 seems reasonable. So Jones should scribble 17 beside Arkansas and point to it. If the Tennessee players fall for it, they'll start SEC play with an impressive road win Saturday.

That's the lesson from Wednesday night, isn't it?

When the Vols think they're playing a good team, they win.

Otherwise, they're at risk.

Tennessee dominated Memphis early, late and at all points in between at Thompson-Boling Arena, and it really wasn't as close as the final score indicates. The Vols led by 15 at the half and by 36 with less than six minutes remaining. The game got sloppy and closer late. But it was a beatdown from start to finish, and Tennessee is now 3-0 against ranked opponents and 7-4 against unranked opponents.


The Vols own wins over No. 5 Pittsburgh, No. 7 Villanova and No. 21 Memphis, and losses to unranked Oakland, unranked Charlotte, unranked Southern California and unranked Charleston. Granted, it's possible unranked Oakland, unranked Charlotte, unranked Southern California and unranked Charleston are all better than No. 21 Memphis, and that what happened Wednesday says more about the Tigers than it does UT. But the point remains the same. The Vols were presented with a ranked opponent on a big stage for the third time this season, and they played well and won such a game for the third time this season. They still haven't lost to a ranked team, but they've four times shown they're capable of losing to pretty much any school without a number next to its name.

So if Tony Jones is smart, he'll put a number next to Arkansas.

I'd go with 17.

He should scribble it on a schedule and show it to his players.

If they fall for it, they'll cruise.

If not, who knows?
Category: NCAAB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com