Could it get any worse for the Memphis Tigers?
After yet another disappointing season, the school underwent an embarrassing public scandal where they attempted to block their leading scorer Austin Nichols from transferring. Nichols got a lawyer and the Tigers caved, allowing Nichols to announce that he would transfer to the Virginia Cavaliers.
Whether you blame Josh Pastner or the athletic department for the lack of recent success is a matter of opinion, but what isn’t a matter of opinion is how much trouble Memphis basketball will be in next season if it doesn’t succeed.
The story is, once again, the same for Memphis heading into the 2015-16 season. The talent is there, but can the Tigers turn it into wins?
The short answer when looking at this roster is definitely.
Nichols is gone, but Memphis brings in a highly underrated graduate transfer in former Alabama Crimson Tide G Ricky Tarrant. He is not only an explosive scorer, but has averaged 2.8 assists per game throughout his collegiate career. They have to move the ball better, and Pastner looked to address that by bringing in Tarrant.
On top of Tarrant’s arrival, Shaq Goodwin returns for what feels like the 50th season. Goodwin is a consistent double-double threat, but must take control of this team on offense. Trashon Burrell and Avery Woodson also return, meaning that the Tigers boast several core players who they can build from. Add those players to incoming recruits like Dedric Lawson, Nick Marshall and K.J. Lawson, and the future looks bright for the Tigers.
Like every season, it would be a massive mistake to sleep on Memphis. Pastner may not be the best fit for the Tigers, but he’s a pretty darn good coach on an extremely talented team. Expect Memphis to break out of its slump and surprise next season.