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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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Sunday / March 18.
  • 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.

    • Why would Lance choose Memphis with a first year coach over Maryland, much less over Kansas. Without Cal, Memphis is Tulsa with more gun shots. If Lance doesn’t feel safe on Coney Island he’s not going to be thrilled with Memphis, TN.

    • Kansas fans can forget Xavier Henry, if the kid wanted to go to KU, he wouldve picked Lawrence 9 months ago… I think Bill Self made a huge mistake pulling back on Lance after Calipari left and re-focusing on the Henrys… KU is loaded next year, but they’d look especially nasty if Lance jumps on board…

    • Huh? Stephenson’s recruitment is becoming more complicated? The…hell…you…say. What’s next? The Easter Bunny isn’t real? Ice Cream is fattening? Brooke Hogan is really a man in drag?

      A school is tryna get involved with Lance in the 11th hour? I sooooo didn’t see this coming. I’m beginning to lose faith in mankind.

    • Diamondback,
      Thanks man. That made me smile. That was one of the funniest, sharpest comments I’ve ever had on this blog. Good stuff….You’re right it probably was easy to see coming, now we’ll see where it goes.

    • Pastner has an interest in anything that can dribble and shoot. Ol’ Cal picked his Memphis bones cleaner than a slab of Neely’s ribs.

    • At this point, it almost doesn’t matter to Kansas. The big winner will be whoever decides to sign with Kansas FIRST. The Jayhawks are running out of scholarships. They are the pre-season favorite, and if they add just one more blue chip recruit like X, Stephenson or Wall, they may go undefeated. Whichever of these three guys signs with Kansas first, wins the lottery. A guaranteed run at a National Title. Certainly more than they’ll get at UK or Memphis.

    • I want to preface this with disclosing that I can’t speak to the credibility of this report, but i was told early this morning that lance was in Lawrence yesterday and signed his letter at the KU basketball offices. Again, this doesn’t make much sense to me, but I was told it by someone credible – and he heard it from a guy who supposedly was up there watching it all go down.

      Take that for what it’s worth. I just thought it was interesting.

      • I thought yesterday was a dead period. If so, how could Lance be in Kansas signing an LOI?

        • Theoretically that wouldn’t matter. Players can call coaches all they want.

          • Calling a coach is one thing. Flying to Kansas and signing an LOI is another.

          • It’s not actually. Besides, yesterday was the first day of the signing period.

    • I’ll believe it when they announce it.

    • Kansas fans think they’ll win a national championship every year, get over yourselves. Cal will have UK in contention as late as 2011. If he gets John Wall and Meeks comes back, they’ll be in contention in 2010.

      • And what’s wrong with that, expecting to win every year? Let UK bring in whoever they want… KU fans will take Bill Self over Calipari any day… And correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t that duel played itself out once already? I guess Cal doesn’t subscribe to the theory free throws win Championships… But Big Shots by Mario Chalmers and Sherron Collins do… Rock Chalk.

        • It’s the simple fact the KU fans think they’ll win with whomever and thats not the case. Being blessed with a talented team the past few years, doesn’t mean you’re gonna win every year. You living in dreamland if you think you are. Can’t you see through Phog or is it too much for you? LOL.

      • Contention is fine, but he’ll have to have double the talent of anyone else to win anything. He’s that bad a coach.

    • Also, why does Adam recycle stories to make it seem like he has new information on Lance everyday? He just changes the title and picture…adds a sentence here or there and wallah! He’s got himself a new Born Ready Article. LOL.

      • No one is forcing you to read this blog. And correct me if I’m wrong but news about Memphis recruiting Lance is new information.

    • Gohard,

      You are a moron. The news about Memphis being interested in Lance was new and was not reported anywhere else.

      Also, a KU source says it is BS that Lance was in Lawrence yesterday. A recruit can’t sign on campus per NCAA rules.

      If you’re interested in Lance news come back here. If not, don’t.


      • It didn’t make much sense to me either…just came from a source that isn’t really in the business of pulling things out of thin air or even fabricating. That being said, I never really believed it either.

    • Adam – I like what you’ve got going on here… That said, I see no way the Henrys are coming to KU, and that at this point it’s Lance or bust for the Hawks… Your toughts…

      • *thoughts*