Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
It is entirely possible that within the next week or so, Memphis could play for the national championship and also land a recruiting class that includes five-star players Tyreke Evans and Devin Ebanks.
First things first. Memphis looked extremely impressive Sunday in routing Texas, 85-67, behind 21 points, nine assists and six rebounds from freshman guard Derrick Rose to advance to the Final Four for the first time since 1985. Memphis will meet UCLA in one national semifinal, while fellow top seeds Kansas and North Carolina do battle in the other.
Despite numerous Internet reports that the 6-foot-5 Evans, the MVP of the McDonald’s All-American Game, is a done deal to Memphis, sources close to the American Christian program tell us he hasn’t made up his mind yet. Villanova, UConn, Texas and Memphis are his Final Four and he will announce his decision April 16 on ESPNU.
If Memphis wins the title and head coach John Calipari decides to leave for a potential NBA job, it may increase the chances that Evans would go somewhere else. Rose seems a lock to go pro, but Calipari is the great variable. If Memphis doesn’t win and Calipari sticks around, logic would dictate that Memphis would have a better shot at landing Evans.
As for Ebanks, it’s hard to get a gauge on where he’s leaning. His Final Four consists of Memphis, Rutgers, Texas and West Virginia, and there has been increasing speculation about a possible package deal with Evans and Ebanks to Memphis.
Rutgers recently landed big men Greg Echenique and Austin Johnson, seemingly making the Scarlet Knights more attractive, although Ebanks would be a sophomore before those players arrive on campus. And who knows if he even stays that long. Rutgers appears to be the favorite of Ebanks’ mother, Yvonne Jackson, but Ebanks himself could wind up at any of the four schools.
We have yet to hear about any planned visits for Ebanks, although every school except Memphis is done playing, so he is free to visit the others.
Indiana remains an outside shot to hold on to Ebanks, who recently de-committed after Kelvin Sampson took a buyout after committing repeated NCAA recruiting violations.
Andy Katz reported Sunday that Washington State coach Tony Bennett has decided not to pursue the Hoosiers’ head coaching job.
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.