Fall is here, and school is back in session, which means the good times are almost here - the start of college basketball season! To get you ready for this upcoming season, The Hoops Manifesto presents to you its preseason top 25 team rankings, based on the input from our esteemed voting panel. Next up #23: Memphis Tigers
Big thanks to our voting panel: Jeff Fox (@HoopsManifesto) from The Hoops Manifesto, Perry Missner (@PerryMissner) from RotoWire, Ray Bala (@CanBallReport) who writes The Can Ball Report on Raptors HQ, Adam Francis (@RaptorsHQ) from Raptors HQ, and Ian (@SoxAndDawgs) from SOX & Dawgs.
#23 - Memphis Tigers
2011/12: 26-9, lost NCAA Tournament Second Round
Key Returning Players:
Chris Crawford - Point Guard/Shooting Guard - Junior
9.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.8 spg, 51-130 3Pts
Joe Jackson - Point Guard/Shooting Guard - Junior
11.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.2 spg
Tarik Black - Power Forward/Center - Junior
10.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.5 bpg
Adonis Thomas - Small Forward - Sophomore
8.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 15-37 3Pts
Antonio Barton - Shooting Guard - Junior
6.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.6 apg, 30-75 3Pts
Shaquille Goodwin - Power Forward - #44 ranked prospect (Rivals.com)
Damien Wilson - Small Forward - #160 ranked prospect (Rivals.com)
Geron Johnson - Shooting Guard - #1 ranked JUCO transfer (JucoRecruiting.com)
Top NBA Prospect:
Adonis Thomas - projected mid first round in 2013
Despite the loss of Conference USA Player of the Year Will Barton, there is still a lot to like about this season's Memphis Tigers. They return five key members from last year's squad, including All-Conference USA Second Team honoree Tarik Black and Third Team member Chris Crawford. Their most talented player, sophomore Adonis Thomas, has added an astonishing 30 pounds since the start of last season, but reports are that he still has retained his quickness and explosiveness. Memphis has always had explosive guards (and this year won't be any different, with the returning players plus JUCO standout Geron Johnson on the roster), but this season they also have quality big men, led by Black and McDonald's All-American Shaquille Goodwin. The Tigers look like they will go out with a bang this season in C-USA before bolting to the Big East.
Preseason Top 25
#24 - Notre Dame Fighting Irish
#25 - Texas Wildcats
I have been thoroughly underwhelmed by Memphis in the Josh Pastner era. They get these big name recruits, who - other than Will Barton last year - underperform and they have not beaten anyone. Winning the Conference USA tournament the last two years is pretty good, but moving the Big East will make them a below average team in an average conference.
@Perry Missner The second ranked recruiting class in 2010, Adonis Thomas in 2011, yet no NCAA Tournament wins. Another nationally ranked recruiting class this year - let's see if that can equal at least 1 win in the Madness.
@Jeff Fox Pastner is clearly a good recruiter. As a coach, I think he is not very good. He is the Scott Drew of Tier 2. One of the reasons I think Memphis is overrated every year is that Gary Parrish lives in Memphis and Athlon is in Tennessee. Looks like kind of a down year for Conference USA in general.