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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.
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Thursday / March 22.
  • Memphis Has Interest in Lance, Famous; Eisele Turns Down Memphis

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    Here’s a sudden and somewhat shocking development in the ever changing recruiting world.

    Memphis head coach Josh Pastner has interest in both Lance Stephenson and Jarrid Famous, according to a source with knowledge.

    I got the news after I wrote this feature for this morning on Stephenson and how he was down to St. John’s and Kansas.

    Pastner, 31, has been on the job at Memphis for about a week since being officially named as the replacement for John Calipari, who left for Kentucky.

    Pastner is now in the process of trying to reach out to the 6-foot-5 Stephenson, who could make a decision any day now between Kansas or St. John’s.

    If Memphis makes a serious push, it could really throw this situation into a mess. Ironically, Stephenson had listed Memphis among his possible schools for a long time until it became clear that Calipari was not recruiting him.

    Imagine if Stephenson ended up at Memphis instead of Kansas, and Xavier Henry wound up at Kansas instead of Memphis?

    “I am not going to take a player just because he’s available if he’s not good enough,” Pastner told the Memphis Commercial Appeal this week. “I want to make sure guys are good enough whether it’s on the staff or a player for this program.”

    Memphis has already lost DeMarcus Cousins to Kentucky and Pastner faces the risk of losing Henry to Kentucky or Kansas as well. Henry got his release from Memphis and will huddle with his brother C.J. this week in New York to discuss their future plans. C.J. would need to obtain an NCAA waiver to play immediately next year if he transferred.

    As for the 6-11 Famous, he is set to announce his college choice next Wednesday at Westchester Community College. He will visit Arizona this weekend and is also considering Missouri, Seton Hall, South Florida, UConn and Villanova.

    Pastner also needs to hire three full-time assistants and a director of basketball operations after Calipari took the whole staff, sans Pastner, to Kentucky.

    A report out of Memphis said Pastner was looking at several candidates, but that Miami-Dade College coach Matt Eisele had turned Memphis down.

    As first reported here, Memphis had interest in Eisele because he is an accomplished coach with a strong track record who also happened to have several recruits committed to and considering Memphis.

    Two Miami-Dade products, Darnell Dodson and Will Coleman, signed with Memphis, and the program is also recruiting point guard James Beatty, who has interest from a number of schools, including Rutgers.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, 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.