Pastner Loves JUCO Players Despite The Risk


While Oct. 3 afternoon has surpassed us, the Memphis Tigers Basketball team will resume practice on Monday. As for coach Pastner, he’s now focusing on the 2014 class. Thus far, Dominic Magee (6-3, 180 pound guard from Harvey, La.) is the only recruit that Memphis has nailed. The 2014 class is very thin when it comes to the high school prospects. In Pastner’s eyes, the talent is at the junior college level.

Pastner will head to Dallas this weekend to get his eyes on some potential prospects. He will look at 7- footer Anthony Allen who’s from Port Arthur, Texas. He will also see 6-3 guard from East Mississippi Community College Avery Woodson.

During the summer, Cinmeon Bowers was on Pasnter’s list but the deal fell short once Bowers decided to finish his two years at Florida St. Bowers was the top prospect among the junior college ranks. Standing firm at 6-8, Pastner could have used him in the low-post.

Pastner simply loves to take risk when it comes to junior college players. He knows it’s a chance that they will get in trouble, but he wants to give them a chance. For example, look at how Geron Johnson worked out. Prior to him coming to Memphis, he had run-ins with the law. When Pastner got a hold of him, he stayed on a straight line and hasn’t looked back. He’s now one of the main pieces to the Tigers’ puzzle this upcoming season.

“I love recruiting high school and I love recruiting juco,” said Pastner. “These guys slip through the rankings. They’re older mentally and more mature. I just think it’s a different dynamic. The talent is spread throughout.”

In the 2013 class, Pastner and assistant coach Aki Collins tried to nail Jameel McKay of Indian Hills Community College in Milwaukee but he picked Big East school Marquette.

The creator of, Brad Winton, mentioned that Pastner is the one coach in D1 basketball who hits the juco path the hardest.

“He’s out there a lot,” said Winton. “He seems to be more involved than most guys. He works at it pretty hard himself. His name always comes up when juco coaches pass along who’s been in their gym.”

In the 2014 class, there are only two local prospects that are in ESPN’s 100 in White Station’s point guard Chris Chiozza and small forward Leron Black. Now, these guys are off the board and they are heading to big-time schools in Florida and Illinois.

The main reason why Pastner is going after junior college players is because of the inexperience he will have next season. The mental aspect of the game is what the players will need. Memphis has had its share of juco players.

Does anyone remember Larry Kenon from the 1970’s or Omar Sneed, who played for the Tigers from 1997-99?

If you can’t answer now, then google those two names and get back to me at a later date.

Sneed was the first juco player in the program’s history to score 1,000 points.

Look for juco players to headline the 2014 class for Memphis if Cliff Alexander and/or JaQuan Lyle doesn’t commit to the Tigers before the end of the year.

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