Pastner not interested in playing Vols

18 Jul

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

Memphis head coach Josh Pastner is an honest guy. So when he was on a Tennessee sports radio show this week, he didn’t hold back regarding playing the Tennessee basketball team.

Simply put, Pastner wants no part of the Vol nation according to an article from Kyle Veazey of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

“I have no desire to play Tennessee,” Pastner told hosts Josh Ward and Will West on WNML-AM 990. “I don’t think it does us any good. I’m just being honest with you. For us, it’s a game that, I don’t know why we play it, but we play it because the athletic director wants me to play it and he’s my boss and what he says goes.”

The real reason, writes Veazey, is recruiting. With Pastner, it always starts with recruiting.

Reached later, Pastner said he hasn’t hidden from his feelings, which he said are rooted in recruiting and aren’t personal. To Pastner, it’s simple: He doesn’t consider Knoxville a fertile recruiting ground, so why give Tennessee exposure in Memphis, a place where the Vols actively recruit players.

Memphis has signed seven players from the Memphis area since 2003. Tennessee has signed two and only one actually made it to Knoxville.

Chris Jones, a Memphis native that left the city to play at Oak Ridge Military in North Carolina, originally signed with the Vols but instead will play at Northwest Florida Junior College. Former UT assistant coach Steve Forbes is the head coach at the school.

Dane Bradshaw, an esteemed glue guy that graduated in 2007, was the last player from Memphis to sign with Tennessee. Bradshaw isn’t exactly winning you a national championship. No offense, Dane.

So, will one game actually be the tipping point for prospects? Nope. Not in Memphis, one of the closest knit high school basketball communities in the country.

Memphis will play Xavier, Tennessee, Belmont, at Miami, at Georgetown, at Louisville and at the Maui Invitational this season. It is a schedule that will make any young head coach think about purchasing hair coloring kits.

Pastner said he understands why the game is played and why his athletic director, R.C. Johnson, wants it to happen. It is good for the sport. It is good for the South. It is good for the state of Tennessee. If anything, Tennessee may be the ones that don’t want to play the Tigers. The Vols are rebuilding. Pastner has his team headed in the right direction. If anything, the Tennessee game, at least in the short future, appears to be an easy win.

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One Response to “Pastner not interested in playing Vols”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pastner has ‘no desire’ for Memphis to play Tennessee | Beyond the Arc - July 19, 2011

    […] is, as Justin Young points out in his blog, Memphis has since seven players from the Memphis area since 2003. Tennessee has only signed two, […]

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