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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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Friday / February 23.
  • Memphis Adds Bartons to Recruiting Haul

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    Josh Pastner continues to reel in top-notch recruits.

    Just two months after getting the job, the new Memphis coach landed commitments from blue-chip brothers Will and Antonio Barton of Baltimore (Md.) Lake Clifton High School. The brothers are visiting the school for the Memphis Elite Camp.

    “Me and my brother decided to choose Memphis because it was a great family atmosphere,” Will, a 6-foot-6, 170-pound shooting guard ranked No. 1 at his position and No. 7 overall in the Class of 2010, said by phone Friday night.

    “We just went down there [to campus] and saw it for ourselves, man.”

    Will (pictured) is a five-star recruit according to Rivals and Antonio, a 6-2 point guard also from the Class of 2010, is a three-star.

    “We had a great relationship with Coach [Glenn] Cyprien and Coach Pastner,” Will said.

    Will said he chose the Tigers over a Who’s Who of top programs, including Kentucky, Kansas, Louisville, Indiana, Maryland, Virginia, Texas, Florida and Miami.

    “It was a list of schools,” Will said.

    The commitments represent a bit of a recruiting coup for Pastner over his former boss, John Calipari. The boys were to have visited Kentucky next weekend, but Kentucky had yet to offer Antonio. Pastner offered both brothers.

    The Barton double-commitment comes a week after Latavious Williams, a 6-8 wing from Humble (Texas) Christian Life Center, committed to Pastner.

    Earlier this week Pastner also announced the signing of Martin Ngaloro, a 6-foot-8 small forward from France.

    The Barton commitments also come a time when Memphis is embroiled in an NCAA investigation over whether someone else took former point guard Derrick Rose’s SAT. Memphis could forfeit its 38-win season in 2008 and its Final Four appearance.

    That incident occurred under Calipari, and Pastner has maintained that the current team and future of the program won’t be impacted.

    Will Barton said he spoke to Pastner about it and felt satisfied.

    “Yes, all is settled so we’re good,” he said.

    Will Barton describes himself as a “very versatile big wing at 6-6, a scorer. I  can do a lot on the floor, get my teammates involved and make them better.”

    He’s very much looking forward to playing with his brother. Will is just 11 months older.

    “That’ll be great getting to play with him,” he said. “We’ve been together all my life and we’re trying to take it to the next level and be as successful as we have been.”

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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.

    • Wow! Josh Pastner is amazing. He has not coached a game and is already signing the top players.

      Those who said Memphis basketball would drop off because John Calipari ran off to Kentucky (and left behind an NCAA mess) were wrong. Memphis made a great hire and got a young up and coming coach.

    • Good haul …..

    • Hope this guy can coach …..he sure as hell can recruit

    • A great get by JP.

    • This is a good grab for Memphis..I hate seeing my Baltimore boys go out of state..Maryland couldn’t offer the package deal though, so its all good..They bring that B-More grittiness as Joey Dorsey did..These dudes have mad game!

    • Can the younger kid play ? …he’s rated a 3 star

    • put Will with Joe Jackson at point …….hellllooooo ……

    • I am so impressed by Josh Pastner. The guy has not coached a D-1 game and is bringing in this type of class. Hard work does pay off and he shows it. Thanks for the prop Terp I know we have argued here before but I also like the Maryland players. They always have a good game and if these guys are like Dorsey this town will love them. I have been a fan for years and cannot remember a player getting as much love as Dorsey other than a few local guys like Penny Hardaway Lorenzen Wright or Elliot Perry. When Cal decided to leave I like many in this town was disappointed but after the recent news of questionable Sat’s and taking of recruits I like where we are headed and the refreshing new guy. I feel the program is lucky to have landed on Pastner. I love the energy and there is a whole new feel to the program like it is no longer Cal’s baby but the entire city’s again if that make any sense. We had a good run under Cal but I am looking forward to the future.

      • So were you obblivious to Cal’s crooked ways while he was your coach and now that he’s gettin’ bad press you’re happy he’s gone?

        • Not what i said at all. I said I was disappointed when he left and concerned about where we might be headed in the future. The coaching hire was critical and the school hit it out of the park with Pastner – who all the media were shocked about when the hire came in. Now two months later he has signed a 5 star and now adds another 5 star and 3 star recruit.

        • LanceIsNotAHawk – Calipari runs such a corrupt program that he goes illegally to prospect’s games and gets caught, like in the case of when he went to a John Wall game. Under his regime, a player also shot at by-standerds with a bb gun. Oh, wait! That’s Bill Self’s issues. We should get back to bashing Calipari and Kentucky, because all other universities are PERFECTLY CLEAN. Ya, ONLY KENTUCKY AND CALIPARI are dirty.

    • The younger brother is a set up guy..Not a great shooter, but he is heady..Guards from Baltimore are tough..He quaterbacked Lake Clifton to an undefeated Maryland 3A state championship..He has game!

    • A local Memphis coach also spoke today about how Pastner is rebuilidng the bridges with local high school coaches. Bridges Cal had burned and although Cal was recruiting nationally many Memphis fans were frustruated by the past staff not getting the top local talent. While it does bring in another element to deal with Pastner needs to take advantage and it seem he has. Luckily for Pastner one of the top guards in the next class is here in Memphis – Joe Jackson and the coach said he thinks he will go to Memphis. Great news for Memphis bad news for Tennessee fans and Bruce Pearl who had been recruiting in Memphis due to Cal’s lack of recruiting here.

    • Please answer me this.

      Why would two kids commit to a school that still is under investigation? Why not wait? It doesn’t make sense at all? They had a lot of options.

      I would wait and see what happens.

      • The evidence to the basketball violations is flimsy at best and it seems they wanted to get Cal. The NCAA cleared the player – let him play and just after the season ended began the investigation. Waiting for the investigation is pointless because it has no impact on the program going forward. It’s beginning to look like Memphis will not even have to vacat its wins for that season. You must be a Maryland fan who cannot believe you would lose an in state guy to Memphis.

        • (Not a facetious comment)

          I agree, the evidence is flimsy. Since Kentucky is involved blueberry, you’ll notice a much larger outcrying from all over. If Memphis has to vacate its FF appearance, then so should Duke for the whole Corey Maggette situation. Duke argued (if I remember correctly) that since it was before the season started and not during the season, that they should not be forced to vacate their FF appearance like JC did when at UMASS.

    • lanceisahawk

      I can understand your con cern but evidentally you dont understand what the allegations outcome will be. There will be no long term affect on the Tigers going from this point. The worst that can happen is vacating the one season of 38 wins when Rose played. The NCAA has stated that it wont affect the ongoing program.
      Look, I know where not Kansas, Kentucky or any other big BCS program but we have something special here in Mphs and we are extremely proud of Tiger Basketball. That is evidence by the sommitment of the Barton’s. They saw it, they felt it and they commited to it. For them, there was no reason to look elsewhere.
      Calipolyp and his scrutinized ways are gone and now comes the man with extreme integrity……Pastner.
      Memphis was not depleted as people stated. We are just reloading with CLASS….Pastner and the Tigers will be a team to reckon with.
      I hope we can give the Jayhawks a good game on NOv 17th.

    • Congratulations to Memphis and JP on a nice recruit in Will Barton. This guy can really ball, and I think he will bring a lot to the table for the Tigers. I don’t know much about the brother, except it sounds like he should’ve played football for Memphis.. Too bad it ended up being a package deal, I would like to have seen Will Barton in KY blue, but I am happy he didn’t choose any of the other schools. Nice job.

      Wildcat Fan

    • Memphis fans I would hold off on congradulating Josh Pastner on his recruits. I know that Will Barton is a top prospect but if you look at Pastner’s history in recruiting it is not that great. While at Arizona he was the head recruiter for many kids that failed to live up to the hype at the college level (i.e. J.P. Prince, Tangara, Fox, Shakur and McCleanan). I understand the your happiness. I just wanted to point our his track record since I am one of the few UA fans that dislike Pastner and are thrilled he did not end up being UA’s new head coach.

    • Here is another article:

      This is great news for the Memphis program.

    • While UAWildcat has somewhat of a point, Josh Pastner also recruited Jordan Hill, Chase Budinger, and Nic Wise to the Arizona program, 2 of whom are expected to be 1st round draft picks this year and all have had solid careers for the UofA.

      UAWildcat is right he’s one of the few that dislikes Pastner as he’s a difficult guy not to like with his infectious personality, evidenced by the fact that the guy can get top tier talent to commit to him before he’s coached a game!

    • Chase and Wise were Olson recruits. While Pastner did bring in Hill improved to a lottery pick under the coaching of Mike Dunlap, not Pastner. Pastner is a salesman and personally I find salesman to be fake. Not only that but I have met Pastner while he sat on the bench as a player and a coach. While working through school at a local univeristy resturaunt/bar and Pastner was the only UA baskeball player or coach that was a prick. I do not view him as the nice guy most see him but then again I and some others have seen the Paster that is not on the sale floor.

    • I’m not claiming to know who did what at UA but typically an assistant develops the early part of a players recrutiment and the HC will close the deal if they are close. So someone other than L. Olsen was recruiting Chase and Wise. Any UA fans have an idea. I dont know if Pastner doesn’t tip well but you are the first to say he is a prick. I have a question. What do you think of Kevin O’neill. If you say Pastner was the only UA coach that was a prick then you must like K. O’neill. Now that guy is a major prick.

    • I never met Kevin O’Neil so I can not comment on him. I do not make judgments on people I have never met. I am not sure if Pastner is a good tipper or not. I think Pastner is a prick because of how he treated people that he felt were not going to help him in his carrer. I know many UA players really like Pastner and wanted him to step in for Olson. Personally I do not think he will be a great head coach. I just feel that karma catches up with you at some point and it will soon catch up to Pastner.

    • UAWildcat is completely off on everything he is saying. He has the right to his dissenting opinion but there is no need to debate this. There are many reasons why everyone at the University of Arizona loves Josh Pastner. Many of these reasons are the opposite of what UAWildcat is saying. I have no problem with UAWildcat projecting Josh Pastner to be a poor head coach but all facts up to this point show otherwise and I along with almost everyone from Arizona believe that Josh has amazing potential and will be considered an elite coach within about 5 years which is amazing based on his age.

    • I have been around Pastner for a year and a half. He is the nicest and hardest
      working most upbeat person I’ve ever met in this business. Only positives and
      great things to say about Arizona, Coach Olson and life in general.
      UAcat has an obvious personal beef because if you don’t like this man, you are
      in a very small minority.
      We are blessed in Memphis to have him.

    • Yes I know I’m in the minority on Pastner issue. More important news is Nic Wise will play his senior year.

    • UAWildcat i’m w/ you on the fact that I am glad he did not replace Lute. I met him in person once and he seemed like a nice enough guy. However, on the court he never impressed me! He always seems like he says what people want to hear. He seems to be trying to protect his image and not say anything to ruffle feathers or what he really wants to say. While that may be his true self, I think he needs time to develop as a head coach. Head coach can’t always be the “nice guy” and I don’t think JP is ready to play that role yet. Cal was not the best game day coach and I highly doubt JP would even be close to Cal’s level.

    • It seems we have established the college game is more about recruiting than coaching so I am happy to have Pastner. How would you know if he is ready or not he never had to play that role at UA. Given his work ethic and experience I would think he has thought of that situation. Don’t forget he also hired one hell of an assistant staff to help him out.