Will recruiting base bring March success?

Nick King

Will the hometown talent that Josh Pastner is racking up mean wins during the month of March?

Three things make the Memphis basketball job so desirable. One is the passionate and large fan base, two is the financial commitment from boosters and the administration at the school, and the third is the natural recruiting base. From the moment Josh Pastner was named head coach at Memphis he knew he needed to capitalize on the local talent.

With his most recent addition from Austin Nichols, Pastner has now landed the pledge of seven Memphis area kids in the last four years. While players such as Jajuan Johnson, Jarnell Stokes, Andre Hollins, and Robert Hubbs all came from the Memphis area and left for different schools, it is impossible to land them all, and Pastner has done a great job of controlling the city as much as humanly possible.

Included in those seven commitments would three five-star pledges. Those three, Adonis Thomas, Joe Jackson, and Nick King all had numerous options, but Pastner fought hard and landed them all.

The only areas that can really compete with Memphis in terms of talent production recently would be Chicago, Houston, and Washington D.C., and no local school has been able to tap in to their natural talent base the way that Pastner has at Memphis.

Now the question remains, can Pastner get all of that hometown talent and bring it to success during the month of March. If there has been one criticism of Pastner during his first three years as coach it has been the zero NCAA Tournament wins.

Many would expect that to change this season as Pastner returns a deep and talented roster, but looking further ahead to 2013-14, things could really be set up for the Tigers.

Depending on the NBA futures of guys like Thomas and Jackson, the Tigers could start a lineup of Jackson at point guard, Chris Crawford at shooting guard, Thomas at small forward, Nichols at power forward, and Tarik Black at center with King as the first man off the bench to give the Tigers a top six of all Memphis products.

Not only would a first unit of all kids representing their home city be a heck of a story, but it would also be one heck of a talented roster. In fact it would be the most talented Memphis team since Derrick Rose was running the show at the FedEx Forum, and to be honest, the 2013-14 Memphis team would probably have more talent overall than the one that came within an eyelash of winning the NCAA title.

Of course you have to walk before you can run, and these Memphis products need to produce this year to set themselves up for what could be one of the more unique stories in college basketball when Nichols, Markel Crawford, and King arrive on campus in 2013.

Whether this works or not and Memphis goes back to the heights their fans and Pastner expect remains to be seen, but one thing is without debate. Pastner is banking on his hometown talent transferring to big wins during the month of March.

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