Pastner very pleased with his team during the offseason

The Memphis Tigers are officially done with their eight weeks of summer workouts. As for coach Pastner’s response to his team, he was very pleased with what the team has accomplished during the offseason. The fall semester is only two weeks away, so progression is definitely a good thing.

This is the second straight summer that the NCAA has allowed coaches offseason access to their players. Pastner and his coaching staff focused primarily on the team concepts instead of individual skills like they did last summer.

“Last summer was the first summer we were allowed the access — the first summer for all of college basketball — so it was going to be a little bit of a trial run,” said Pastner. “Last summer there was more of a focus on one-on-one and two-man groups. We still did some individual drills here and there this summer, but we did a majority of team workouts with skill development inside the team workout.

“We’ve really had a good summer. I really like where we were mentally and physically. Now it’s going to get ramped up in two weeks because it’s time to take it to another gear.”

The entire team will have the next two weeks off before the fall semester kicks off on Aug. 24. The coaches will then have the opportunity to work with the team in groups of four for two hours per week through Sept. 15.

Practice for the Tigers will officially begin on Oct. 3, in which the NCAA now allow the men’s teams to begin fall practice two weeks earlier than previous seasons. Memphis Madness, in previous years marked the first official practice for the Tigers, will take place on Oct. 18 at the FedEx Forum.

Memphis’ five freshmen have made significant progress, so here are Pastner’s comments:

Guard/Forward Nick King: “I’ve seen really good strides from Nick. One of Nick’s major strengths is his ability to rebound the ball and his knack for being around the ball. But he’s got to continue to get better on his ball skills. He’s got to be a better shooter. He hasn’t shot the ball as well as we wanted him to this summer. Part of that is getting his feet set.”

Forward Austin Nichols: “The key for Austin is going to be consistency. He’s been good some weeks and some weeks he hasn’t been as good. He has a lot of ability. He’s got very good hands and he can run, but he has never worked like this before. This is new for him and it’s shocked him, but it’s been good for him.”

Guard Markel Crawford: “Markel has been pretty good the last couple of days. He has not gone up and down full-court in five-on-five, but he’s been doing some of the shell drill stuff and looks pretty good. It’s gonna take a little time for him to get in basketball shape, though.”

Forward Dominic Woodson: “Dom told me he’s never felt so good in his life. He loves how he feels right now because he’s light on his feet. He’s never worked so hard in his life. I told him, ‘You’ve got to change your eating habits and how you exercise because your metabolism is different than other guys.’ He at one time this summer was at 311 pounds, so he’s dropped weight.”

Forward Kuran Iverson: “He had to catch up. He was out of shape when he came in. I told him and all the guys, ‘Don’t leave here for the next two weeks and think you can just hang out. If you’re not in shape when you get back, you’re going to get left behind. We’re not waiting.’ He has some catching up to do on the basketball side, the good thing is that he was here for at least one summer session. One is better than none.”

I received this information from the Commercial Appeal.

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