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.
DETROIT – Memphis AD R.C. Johnson has not yet asked for permission to speak with Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl about the coaching opening at Memphis.
“We have not asked for permission from Tennessee to speak with its basketball coach,” Memphis spokesman Lamar Chance wrote in an email.
Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com reportedthat Johnson was “expected to ask for permission” to speak with Pearl on Thursday.
Memphis television station WMC reported that Pearl has been offered a seven-year, $21 million contract to take over for John Calipari, who left Memphis for an eight-year, $32 million deal at Kentucky, but Tennessee officials say Pearl isn’t leaving.
“Bruce is my coach and I trust him,” Tennessee AD Mike Hamilton told Knoxnews.com. “We have shown in the past we will compensate him fairly and we will continue to compensate him fairly.
“I can tell you that I have no reason to believe Bruce Pearl is going to be anywhere other than Knoxville next year. He has told me he’s not interested in anything else and I’ve got to take him at his word.”
Bringing in Pearl would be a strong move for Memphis, which lost Calipari and could loose a slew of recruits, including Xavier Henry, DeMarcus Cousins and potentially John Wall.
Henry will likely end up at Kansas or Kentucky, Cousins could follow Calipari to Kentucky and Wall remains open and is considering several options.
It remains unclear what two other Memphis commits — Will Coleman and Darnell Dodson of Miami Dade College — will end up doing.
Miami Dade coach Matt Eisele said his program would keep that information “in house” for now.
Perhaps Pearl could stem the tide and keep some of the recruits from leaving.
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.