Recent Posts
About ZagsBlog
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.
Follow Zags on Twitter
Contact Zags
Connect with Zags:
Friday / January 19.
  • Williams Visits Memphis; O'Neill Zings 'Zona; Edwin Taking Trips (UPDATED)

    Share Zagsblog Share Zagsblog
    Here are a few quick morning hits from the Hoops World…

    **Derrick Williams, a 6-foot-7 forward from La Mirada, Calif., is visiting Memphis and will choose from among Arizona, Arizona State, Gonzaga, Memphis and Miami sometime after his visit ends Wednesday.

    “It’s going good right now,” Williams told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. “It’s a big difference from LA, but I could get used to it. I didn’t think the players were going to be how they are. They’re all pretty cool. They (play) up-tempo and they’re enthusiastic, so I like that too.”

    Williams is one of eight recruits to opt out at USC. Tim Floyd resigned there in the wake of the O.J. Mayo recruiting scandal.

    If Williams chooses Memphis, he would join JUCO standout Will Coleman, who could start at center, power forward Latavious Williams and combo forward Martin Ngaloro of France.

    The Tigers are also in the hunt for Brooklyn’s Lance Stephenson. The poll on indicates some 39 percent of respondents think Lance will end up at Memphis, with 29 percent saying Europe and 15 percent Arizona.

    If the Tigers land Williams, will they still be interested in Stephenson, whose court case for groping resumes June 29?

    Word is that Memphis would like to use Stephenson, a natural shooting guard, at the point for a year before he heads off to the NBA (presumably). Then in 2010 Memphis will have Will Barton and hopefully Joe Jackson in the backcourt.

    Problem is that Memphis coach Josh Pastner hasn’t heard from Lance or his dad in a while.

    **Another departed USC player, Lamont “Momo” Jones, has visited Florida and Arizona and is said to be deciding between those two programs. A source said Oklahoma was not in the mix, despite rumors to the contrary.

    **Speaking of USC, new coach Kevin O’Neill took the opportunity of Monday’s introductory press conference to take a few shots at former players (Jerryd Bayless and others have criticized him for his excessive discipline and overall behavior) and former Arizona coach Lute Olson.

    “Contrary to popular demand, I’m not Darth Vader,” he said. “You would think I was slaying people every time you turn around. … Over the years, I’ve been in situations where not all the players always like the coach. Well, guess what? The coaches don’t like all the players sometimes either, especially when you’re in rebuilding situations.”

    O’Neill was named interim coach for the 2007-08 season when Olson stepped down temporarily with health issues, but then was booted was Olson was supposed to come back. Olson never did and Russ Pennell served as the interim coach last season.

    “Lute deserved the opportunity to come back and be the coach; he had earned that over a Hall of Fame career,” O’Neill said. “A lot of people said a lot of things after I left; I didn’t say anything. I don’t have any ill will or any bad feelings whatsoever, plus I ended up in a better job.”

    So take that, Lute.

    **Paterson Catholic forward Fuquan Edwin is due to visit Providence today and Seton Hall Thursday and then decide between the two Big East schools.

    **Richard Peters, a 6-9, 260-pound forward from Weston (Fla.) Sagemont High School in the Class of 2011, has committed to Oklahoma, according to multiple reports.

    Written by

    [email protected]

    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.

    • Wow! Looks like Derrick Williams will sign with Memphis. It is amazing the recruiting class Josh Pastner has put together in such a short time frame under difficult circumstances.

      Memphis made a great hire in Josh Pastner and he is cleaning up the mess left behind by John Calipari. Memphis got a great up and coming coach while Kentucky bought a two time cheater.

    • AZ,

      That was a quick follow up.
      Nice article.
      Beat some of the West Coast boyz on the story.

      But, it is true that Williams has a MAJOR CULTURE shock in Memphis.
      Not surprising at ALL.

      Looks like Wiliams is a LOCK for Arizona.
      And the playing time should be there as well.
      In addition, the family and friends will SEE him play more often.
      Not a big difference between Arizona and So. Cali.

      What is the lates on MoMo?
      He is from you part of the ocean?

      • PS..

        I hear MoMo will speak very soon.

        Look forward to the news.

        I agree.

        • AZ,

          This is NOT your style or the NYC way.
          NYC are very quick and prompt to ACT.

          MoMo news is OUT today.
          (see my comment from yesterday)

          So, you decided to be NICE?
          Look forward to your article of MoMo and his comments.

          Are you reading about D. Williams…..
          He will be in ARIZONA tomorrow.

          Check this out…

      • Oh yeah? How many cacti does So. Cali. have?

      • The “major culture shock” was actually said as a good thing. Did you see the interview? The culture shock was that USC was basically a “football school” – he loved the idea that Memphis was a “basketball school”. In Memphis it’s strictly basketball – all the way. The Memphis Tigers are more popular than the Memphis Grizzlies by far – everyone loves these boys. I wouldn’t blame him for staying closer to home (Arizona) – but Memphis would treat them like one of their own.

    • How many schollies does each school have left (AZ and Memphis)?

      I am wondering because if Memphis is full of players then where does Lance go?

      Pastner is doing a good job getting players. I hope he isn’t just recruiting but rather trying to build a team that can win because if he doesn’t he will be in horrible shape. Expectations are high now.

      • Can’t speak to Arizona, but Memphis currently has nine players under scholarship, leaving them with four to play with.

    • rivals shows lance has narrowed it down to memphis and florida int. as the only schools he’s interested in. my guess, he’s gonna be a tiger. hopefully he gets his house in order and qualifies.

    • Never heard of Williams …… he should probably go to Arizona ….no sense in Pastner giving away scholarships just to fill the bench

    • “Never heard of a player, therefore, said player must be a body to fill the bench.” Superb execution of logical analysis, guy. Send him on over. We will take the 72nd ESPN ranked recruit and we won’t be a bit snotty about it.

    • Why was this guy unranked by Rivals?

    • There is NO need to talk about scholarship with dealing wiht Lance-A-Lot.

      Both schools have scholarship available.

      So, the BIG Deal is….can the ATTORNEY doe his job and win the Case.
      YES, this includes going to trial and winning, if needed.
      (PS- where u able to obtain new court papers?)

      One and Done.

      D. Williams is a good player.
      Others have him ranked in the Top100.

    • Just read a good article on Williams in the Commercial Appeal ……. the culture shock he was referring to was going to a basketball school v. a football school . ……………………….Since coming to Memphis, however, Williams said he’s discovered a major culture change.

      “At SC, it was a football school,” he said. “Here, it’s totally the opposite. Everybody is all about basketball here, so it’s cool.”

    • I’ve changed my mind ….Williams will be a Tiger …. no need for him to go to a program on the skids ….just to be closer to home .

      • First, he doesn’t know who Williams is. Then, he declares Arizona a “program on the skids.” There’s an old adage about how it’s better to remain silent and have others think you a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. I think it may apply in this case. Come talk to me when Memphis makes 24 straight tournaments. Hell, come talk to me when they make 20 straight and play in a real conference.

        As for Kevin O’Neill, I hate to see this happen to USC. I would rather have a strong conference than see another team get a crappy coach. This guy has alienated people everywhere. It wasn’t just at Arizona, although it’s true that all of his players hated him here. It’s true that he bragged about how he wouldn’t even talk to his assistant coaches during games. (Assistants who included Josh Pastner.) It’s true that I’ve never heard anyone from Tennessee have a single good thing to say about him. It’s true that he oversaw the only Arizona team with fewer than 20 wins in more than two decades. (You know, that program that’s “on the skids,” and still manages to produce 20+ wins year in and year out.) It’s true that a glorified high school coach outdid him the very next year. It’s true that he boasted how he’d rather lose by 20 than play a zone defense. The conference deserved better, and so did the few remaining USC players.

        Oh, yeah: I loved how in that interview he tried to take the high road, claiming that he never said anything against Arizona after he was run off. It’s a flat-out lie, but it did make me laugh.

        • Arizona just lost a HOF coach …… as did Memphis ….. I predict Memphis got the better replacement ….and Arizona fans know I’m probably right because they know Pastner …… btw …..let me know when you go 136 and 13 in 4 years …. and are seeded either 1 or 2 each of those 4 years ….Memphis is on the rise …..Arizona is on the skids .

    • to say Pastner is better than Cal, or to say ur happy Cal is gone is stupid. This issue is a high school issue (3-4 players from that same high school cheated) not a Memphis or Cal issue. And pastner has done a good job in a short time. He brought in the #1 class in the same frame of time the Tigers brought in…..Latavious Williams…..and thats the only guy in ur class that matters.

    • Memphis will be decent in 2010 but not next year. They arent even going to win the C-USA, unless they get Lance. then u may compete(in the CUSA) not nationally

    • Tyreke Evans led Memphis to a number 2 seed and the sweet 16 … what was supposed to be a rebuilding year ……Lance can do the same …he’ll have a less experienced supporting cast …but they may be more talented overall .

    • Not sure how you can say Memphis got the better coach. Sean Miller has been succesful at Xavier not to mention the track record of Xavier’s past coaches that have moved on to BCS schools (Matta, Processor). While Lute Olson produced many NBA players he never really produced many coaches at least ones that were any good. The best would probably be Kevin O’Neil which is not saying much. I would hold off on all the talk about Pastner until he proves he is a good coach, and history is not on his side.

    • Many Arizona fans wished they had Pastner now ……your argument is a stretch ….coaches aren’t hired to train head coaches …..they are hired to win games …. Lute won ……the AZ program has been in a state of flux for 2 years ….I doubt Sean Miller can right the ship ……he’ll be gone in 3 years ….. then you guys will be after our coach …..Az. hasn’t got the money to hire away a guy like Pastner from a top program like Memphis … will wander in the dessert for 40 years …too bad .

    • First of all wet-noodle brain (notice I did not insult your mother like other posters)the Arizona fans that would rather have Pastner over Sean Miller are idiots that fell in love with him as a walk-on for some reason (I have never understood that part of college basketball). Sean Miller’s contract is a 5 year deal with a two year extension after he has completed his first 2 years as head coach. Sean Miller has signed 3 top 100 prospects already for the 2009-10 season with a posibilty of adding one or two more top 100 prospects and has a tournament succes. Secondly you always hear about coaching trees and that is one of the few knocks on Coach Olson and the Arizona program to date that he never developed an “Arizona guy” to take over the program when he left. Kevin O’Neil did not work out, Jay John was fired at Oregon State, Jessie Evans forced to resign at San Fransico and Rodney Tention fired at LMU. All were great assistant coaches (all better than Pastner in my opinion) but not head coach material. Third of all Arizona basketball brings in more revenue than Memphis does. Arizona has been ranked in the top 5 in revenue year in and year out and with Sean Miller I do not see that changing any time soon.

    • USC just hired the only college basketball coach in the country who can alienate more people and do it faster than Billy Gillispie. Congrats, and I expect you’ll be remaining a “football school.”

      And I’m not joining the dissing on Arizona fans, but do any of you want to try and explain how hiring Kevin and running off Josh (Lute not offering him squat after 6 years on the bench beside him when he decided to go on leave) were good ideas? I didn’t think so, but I’d like to thank ole Lute for the latter. That’s how Josh ended up here, and that’s why we have two new 5-star recruits — so far. Born Ready may be next, who knows? Can Josh sign three 5-stars before he coaches his first game? LOL What a riot, all those people saying he was only able to recruit because he worked for Olson and Calipari. Good grief, the guys been recruiting since before he could drive a car. He didn’t need Olson or Calipari. They needed him — that’s why they both hired him.

      As for Derrick, if he wants to be a Tiger, we’ll welcome him, too. If not and he chooses Arizona, good luck to you. I enjoyed the brief series we played with ‘Zona and hope we’ll sign another deal someday soon. With all Josh’s ties there, it’s likely a done deal as soon as one or the other team broaches the subject.

    • Pastaboy is there a reason….you can’t complete a full thought…..and type like this…..for some odd reason… think this helps make a point…..but no one really thinks……you have anything worth bringing to the table…..and I don’t know why I acknowledged the troll……because it will only mean he will continue……to post like a child……and bait other posters……oh by the way……I think the only person wandering through “desserts” is you……thank you for the laugh……it is always a pleasure……

      • you’re welcome ………. thanks for reading my posts ……….

    • Tigerblue
      It was my understanding that Coach Olson and Pastner felt it was in his best intrest to have another coaching job on his resume in order for him to get a head coaching gig. Olson forced KO out of Tucson because KO did not utilize his staff or develop players like J. Horne, Zane Johnson etc.

    • I think it is crazy to dog either one of these programs, or their new coaches. Arizona is one of the premiere basketball schools in the country for the last 20 + years, and is likely to continue now that they have some stability at head coach. Memphis has been a beast over the last five years, and has found themselves with an amazing young recruiter, and hopefully an excellent head coach.

      It is ridiculous to say one is garbage and the other is the best…the truth is neither is the best, and both are very impressive!!!

      Pastaboy, please get a life!

      • (Not a facetious comment)

        Love the post, wish more bloggers could be like you in this post. Great point-counter-point argument.

    • For some reason Arizona and Memphis have been listed as possibilities for some of these late signees …….. Lw….Lance …Derrick Williams …looks like Memphis will get Lance and Williams and white wash Sean in the process . These kids don’t care what the Man from Glad’s grandfather ( Lute ) DID 20 YEARS AGO ……they look at Memphis as a top program playing in an NBA arena in a town where the Memphis Tigers are the top sports attraction …..they have a young , positive , energetic coach who they believe in …who they believe can get them to the NBA …..signing the Barton brothers probably got their attention also ….. the fact is many Az fans would love to have Pastner as a head coach ….only the haters in here would trash an ex player like Pastner ……similar to the losers who trash Cal ……

      • Not sure how stating facts is being a “hater”. Pastner has never been a head coach who knows if we will do well. Sean Miller has proven he is an elite coach and he is only 40.

    • So simply stating that the Az fans who would rather have Pastner over Miller are idiots is stating the facts? No that’s stating a hateful opinion …….just like all the other hate filled losers on these blogs.

      • I am not the one that says programs are “has been” or coaches are “has been” those would be your “hateful opinion” so I hope you are including yourself in your statement “just like all the other hate filled losers on these blogs.” The fact remains that Pastner has zero wins as a head coach and Sean Miller has been to an elite eight and another sweet sixteen. I am not sure which Zona fans you have heard from that would rather have Pastner over Miller but I have heard many say they would like Pastner after Miller moves on. My opinion is I hope Miller does not move on until he is in his mid-seventies and he hire another young coach that has proven he can win in the tournament( and by young I do not mean Pastner at the age of sixty something).

      • Pastaboy, I enjoy reading your posts. Its nice to see you keeping some of these haters honest. Keep it up.

    • (Not a facetious comment)

      Though I hate zona, and could really care less about Memphis, I think both coaches have done an outstanding job before they have coached their first games at their respective schools.

      It would seem, though, that Mr. O’Neill has truly has little, if any, public speaker coursing through his veins. He seems to be too blunt and doesn’t know when to stop prodding. He is human though, and he may well have a difficult time beating the perception that USC is a football school….. among other perceptions.

    • Its not a perception ….Usc is a football school

    • Oh, how I tire of reading crap from Pastaboy. The dude is a complete idiot… I am a Memphis fan, but Lute Olson was a hell of a coach. I am not sure how Coach K is an over the hill loser either. Have some respect son!

      Looks like Momo signed with AZ. I think he will be a very good pickup for them. I think Derrick Williams is 50-50 between the Tigers and AZ. He is another very good player and will help both teams.

      As far as coaches go, I would have loved to have picked up Sean Miller. He is a top coach and was a huge pickup. I was initially disappointed with Pastner, but he changed my mind almost immediately. It is very refreshing to get a truely enthusiastic young coach. I didn’t miss Calipari, but I did miss the recruits. But all said and done, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think both AZ and Memphis scored big time with our coaches.

      I think we will get Elliot Williams as he has an ailing mother and he wants to come home. I hate to get him under those circumstances, but he is a fine young man and will be a huge boost to our team. I think he is a better pick up than Lance or Derrick Williams, who are very good players.

      Who knows about Lance. Man have they made a mess of his recruitment and his “camp” need to be taken to the woodshed. Any 18 year old kid that has a “camp” is obviously not very involved in the decision process and that is a sad thing. Whoever picks him up better do some very serious research to see of he is not going to bring NCAA sanctions later. Look at the Derrick Rose deal, how can any school be responsible for making sure he actually took his SAT? He wasn’t on the Memphis property and, as far as I know, Memphis didn’t know he didn’t take it. Maybe they need biometrics or a DNA sample to tell who is actually taking the test. Not sure how that can be the colleges fault.

      Anyway it has been a good late recruiting period for Memphis and Arizona. I’d like to renew our brief series, they were good games. Two top players left, Stephenson and Derrick Williams, who is gonna get them???