Blog Entry

New UT coach Martin pursuing Memphis talent

Posted on: April 12, 2011 5:04 pm

Posted by Eric Angevine

I've said before that Cuonzo Martin's first job at Tennessee is to refrain from embarrassing the school any further. He should be able to do that easily. The hard part comes next. He must try to retain Bruce Pearl's recruits and find a few more who can play. That's not going to be easy at all with NCAA sanctions looming on the horizon.

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In addition to the chilling effect of likely sanctions, Martin will have to deal with an uncertain scholarship situation in the short term. Both Scotty Hopson and Tobias Harris are flirting with the NBA, which means their two scholarships are not definitively available when the signing period begins on April 13. That has never stopped a coach from over-recruiting, but neither does it help Martin stabilize a tough situation.

Right now, Martin seems to be pursuing mostly guards. He has offered 6-foot-5 Oklahoma native Josh Richardson and is expecting a visit from 6-4 Kevin Ware from Georgia as well. Aside from those out-of-staters, Martin is, quite sensibly, zeroing in on talent from relatively nearby Memphis, Tennessee.

His first goal was to nail down the commitment of 5-10 Chris Jones, a Pearl signee who seems to be leaning toward honoring his commitment. details several other players from the city who could form the backbone of UT's team if the chips fall Martin's way:

A list of Memphis players Martin is recruiting with graduating class in parenthesis: Jarnell Stokes, Memphis Central (2012); Andre Applewhite, Memphis Central (2012); Austin Nichols, Briarcrest Christian (2013); Jonathan Williams, Southwind (2013), Leron Black, White Station, (2014).

Martin has also looked into some possible junior college transfers with size, but has yet to gain much of a foothold with anyone who can play inside.

Martin recently offered a scholarship to 6-1 Iowa point guard Wes Washpun, so at least one of those 2011 spots may be spoken for.

Martin has a tough job ahead of him, and the early recruiting period will be his first major test. His earnest ways may sway some recruits, but a serious sales pitch will be required if he is to convince top-level talent to take a chance on the Volunteers.

Photo: US Presswire

Since: Jan 22, 2008
Posted on: April 13, 2011 8:45 am

New UT coach Martin pursuing Memphis talent

UT coaches have been pursuing Memphis talent for years.  His sales pitch will need to be over the top to compete with Pastner. 

Since: Feb 26, 2008
Posted on: April 12, 2011 8:33 pm

New UT coach Martin pursuing Memphis talent

Because of the situation Coach Martin is coming into, essentially the basketball equivalent of what Coach Dooley had last year, he is going to have at least five years to prove what he can do in a major conference especially with the likes of Kentucky and Florida in the same division with Georgia on the rise to deal as he tries to rebuilt the Vols.  Coach Martin helped recruit the majority of the Boilermaker players that have been a great team the last few years as well has building up the Missouri State program to be a power in the MVC, so his recruiting ability is unquestionable.  However because of the uncertainty regarding the NCAA, he's between a rock and hard place this year.  Once the program knows what the Pearl-era penalties will be, Coach Martin's recruiting job will become easier.  This is one Vols fan that won't be criticizing Coach Martin any time soon.

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