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Memphis closing in on historic class


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There has been a flurry of recruiting activity over the past four days, but no story has been bigger than the commitment of DeMarcus Cousins to Memphis.

Already with the No. 5-ranked 2009 recruiting class, Memphis has been the perceived leader for Cousins since his de-commitment from UAB. The standard line, however, was that Cousins would officially visit Memphis, Kansas State and North Carolina State after he took his college prep test.

Instead of following this timeline, Cousins took a surprise unofficial visit to Memphis for its final home game of the season Saturday and then committed before he left campus. The addition of Cousins, who is the No. 2-ranked prospect in the Rivals150, with Memphis signees Xavier Henry (No. 3), Nolan Dennis (No. 47), Darnell Dodson (four-star junior college prospect) and Will Coleman (four-star junior college prospect) gives Memphis the top recruiting class in the country.

Yet the biggest news coming out of Cousins' commitment to Memphis, which was expected to eventually happen, is John Wall's pronouncement that Memphis is his leader. Even stranger is that Wall named Memphis his leader following his weekend visit to Baylor, where his former travel team coach Dwon Clifton is on the coaching staff.

Wall doesn't plan to publically announce his college intentions until the third week in April when he participates in the Jordan Brand Game in New York City, and he plans to visit Miami and possibly Duke and North Carolina State before that date. So certainly there could be more twists and turns before Wall, who is also considering Kansas along with these other schools, makes a final decision.

But if Wall, the No. 1-ranked prospect in the Rivals150, does choose Memphis, it would give the Tigers arguably the best recruiting class in the history of college basketball.

ANOTHER FIVE-STAR TO MEMPHIS?

Despite having four signees, the commitment of Cousins and the strong possibility of landing Wall, Memphis is still recruiting five-star prospect Latavious Williams.

"Memphis is still recruiting me," Williams said in response to Cousins' recent commitment. "I've been talking with [assistant] coach [Josh] Pastner."

Williams' travel team coach, Scooter Owens of Brandon Bass Elite, said Memphis coach John Calipari is expected to travel to Houston to check in on Williams in the near future. Owens, however, also noted that the crowded front line at Memphis might hurt its chances at landing Williams.

"With all the top players Memphis will have next year, I'm not so sure that Latavious wants to play as the third or fourth guy," Owens said. "He wants significant minutes, and he also needs some room to play inside even though he is developing his perimeter game. With Memphis, it's not so much Cousins, but it is the junior college players that they are bringing in and [shawn] Taggart coming back that is a concern. Anytime a coach brings in junior college players, he is bringing them in with the intention of them playing right away."

Presently, the other top option for Williams is Georgetown. After being named Most Outstanding Player of the National Prep tournament in Dayton, Tenn., Williams headed up to Washington, D.C., to unofficially visit Georgetown. Williams, who has never traveled that far north before, enjoyed the visit.

"I was able to visit the campus, and it is a nice school," he said. "It's all right up north."

After taking the ACT at the beginning of April, Williams plans to visit Memphis and possibly Baylor, Florida State and Kansas State.

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I said this in the other thread:

If Tyreke Evans comes back to Memphis with that recruiting class (not even counting Wall), you can put them in the championship game next year most likely against Kansas.

That's a ridiculous recruiting class already. And John Calipari has done an excellent job this year given all he lost last year. Yes, Tyreke Evans is a stud, but after a slow start, Calipari has those guys playing like pros.

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It helps when your competing against teams with hard admission. It also helps when ur competitors like Coach K and Coach Williams are looking more for players that will stay 4 years and not just for the one and done. but with tht said. calipari takes wut he can get and is a great coach.

U know he has to be a great coach if he took UMass to the Final Four. I dont even think they even sniffed the NCAA tourney since he left.

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He recruits a lot of talent but he can't coach it very well. Remember they play in the CUSA and Memphis has 3 losses to Xavier, Georgetown, and Syracuse. I do not see how they are even in competition for a 1 seed. They have ONE win vs a top 25 team. By comparsion UNC has 5 and the middle teams are far greater in the ACC than the CUSA. UConn has 9 and Pitt has 6. Memphis is not a 1 seed. Period, Period, Period.

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He recruits a lot of talent but he can't coach it very well.

This is absurd. Calipari is one of the best coaches in college basketball. All 3! of Memphis' losses came in the first full month of the season. When you're relying on a freshman PG and 5 of your bench players are also freshmen, it's going to be tough to beat teams like Xavier, Syracuse, and Georgetown (this was when Georgetown was a good team).

I don't deny that their schedule is too easy for such a big program, but they obliterated every team since that beginning month with the exception of close wins at Tulsa and at Tennessee.

I'm not advocating for Memphis to get a #1 seed because I think there are more deserving teams, but Calipari is a top-notch coach.

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Take a look at Memphis' projected starting 5 for the 2009-2010 season if Tyreke Evans stays.

G: Tyreke Evans (5-star)

G: Xavier Henry (5-star)

F: Darnell Dodson (4-star)

F: Shawn Taggart (4-star)

C: DeMarcus Cousins (5-star)

Their bench is going to be super strong, too. It may take them a while to gel, but that is going to be the most-talented team in the country. We'll see if Evans indeed stays (I think he needs to, but that's easy for me to say).

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