Tag:Jarnell Stokes
Posted on: January 1, 2012 9:00 pm

Jarnell Stokes won't play in Memphis this week

By Jeff Goodman

Jarnell Stokes won't make his debut in his hometown of Memphis this week. In fact, the talented big man may not see his first college action for a couple weeks. 

Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin told CBSsports.com that even if Stokes, a Memphis native who is enrolling in college early, gets through the NCAA clearinghouse, he won't play against the Tigers on Wednesday night in Memphis. 

"We need to get him acclimated, adjusted and comfortable," Martin told CBSSports.com. "There's no reason to rush him." 

Martin said it's unlikely Stokes would play until Jan. 12 at the earliest.

Martin doesn't want to throw his talented Memphis native -- who committed last week and will enroll in college early -- to the wolves. 

Stokes, who graduated from high school in 3 1/2 years, is still waiting to be officially admitted to school and cleared by the NCAA. But the schedule is daunting for the big man with hometown Memphis this week, followed by Florida on Jan. 7, at Mississippi State on Jan. 12 and Kentucky on Jan. 14. 

If that's the case, he might want to wait to play him until Jan. 18 in Athens against Georgia. 

Posted on: December 22, 2011 7:51 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 7:52 pm

Stokes picks Tennessee

By Gary Parrish

MEMPHIS -- Jarnell Stokes publicly committed to Tennessee on Thursday.

He plans to enroll in Knoxville in January and play this season.

Stokes' announcement ended a long and intense recruitment that featured other programs such as Kentucky, Connecticut, Florida, Arkansas and Memphis vying for his services. The 6-foot-8 forward spent months interacting with followers on Twitter and greatly increased his profile with fans, and the recruitment took a turn in recent weeks when the TSSAA ruled the Memphis native ineligible to play high school basketball this season because of a transfer from Central High to Southwind High. Once that happened, Stokes decided to graduate early and enroll in college mid-semester. Sources told CBSSports.com he settled on Tennessee in recent days and stuck to that choice despite late pushes from various coaching staffs.

This is big for first-year UT coach Cuonzo Martin.

CBSSports.com ranks Stokes as the 16th-best prospect in the Class of 2012. He represents the first elite-level recruit to leave the city of Memphis for Tennessee since Tony Harris signed with the Vols before the 1997-98 season. Stokes is also the first primary target within the city that Memphis coach Josh Pastner has missed on since he replaced John Calipari in April 2009, though it should be noted that Pastner signed Shaq Goodwin out of Georgia last month.

CBSSports.com ranks Goodwin as the 21st-best prospect in the Class of 2012.

He plays the same position as Stokes.

Tennessee is 4-6 heading into Friday's game against East Tennessee State.

The Vols play at Memphis on Jan. 4.
Posted on: December 20, 2011 12:58 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 12:04 am

Stokes announcing college choice Thursday

By Gary Parrish

Jarnell Stokes, a high school prospect from Memphis, said on Tuesday that he will announce his college decision Thursday night, which is noteworthy because Stokes plans to enroll in college early and maybe play this season.

Stokes' list of possible destinations includes Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Memphis and Tennessee, but multiple sources have told CBSSports.com that it's really down to just Florida, Memphis and Tennessee. The 6-foot-8 forward Tweeted Tuesday that he remains undecided.

"I'm saying my prayers 24/7," he Tweeted, "and waking up Thursday with an answer!"

CBSSports.com ranks Stokes at the 16th-best prospect in the Class of 2012, but he's not playing high school basketball this season because the TSSAA ruled him ineligible after he transferred from Central High to Southwind High. Consequently, Stokes started weeks ago exploring the possibility of graduating high school early and enrolling in college early. He told CBSSports.com on Tuesday that that's exactly what he'll do, and when asked whether he wants to redshirt this season or play immediately Stokes said, "Of course I want to play."

That could be a problem for the hometown Tigers.

Memphis does not have a scholarship available for this season. And though Stokes could get enough financial aid and academic scholarship money to basically go to Memphis for free, he would almost certainly not be allowed to play at Memphis this season because he would be considered a "recruited walk-on" thanks to an official visit he took to Memphis earlier this year, and the NCAA does not allow "recruited walk-ons" to play in their first year on campus.

Meantime, Florida and Tennessee both have scholarships available. Multiple sources told CBSSports.com that Gators coach Billy Donovan and Vols coach Cuonzo Martin have each made it clear to Stokes that he can play for them this season, and that is, again, something Memphis coach Josh Pastner simply cannot offer because of an obscure NCAA rule.
Posted on: July 20, 2011 3:24 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 6:33 pm

Jarnell Stokes plays with target on his back

By Jeff Borzello

As a five-star recruit with several of the top schools in the country on his tail, Jarnell Stokes knows he’s being watched on the AAU circuit.

The 6-foot-8 power forward from Memphis uses it as extra impetus to play his hardest every time out.

“First of all, you get a target on your back,” Stokes said. “People know who you are, so you have to bring it.”

Stokes, who will play at Oak Hill Academy (Va.) next season, was simply a dominant inside player for most of the past few years.

This spring and summer, though, he expanded his skill set and added a solid face-up game to his repertoire.

“I’m playing more outside, working on my versatility,” Stokes said.

It’s been working out well so far for Stokes, who ranked near the top of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League in both points and rebounds, averaging 19.3 points and 8.4 rebounds through 14 games. He also topped the Peach Jam in rebounding, grabbing 9.7 per game in South Carolina last week.

More on Recruiting

Stokes’ ability to outmuscle smaller defenders and get past slower opponents enables him to get to the free-throw line at an extremely good rate and score efficiently in the post, too.

“Most defenders can’t guard inside and out,” he said. “I’m trying to play my best, bring effort to the floor. But there’s a lot more to improve on.”

Stokes ranks No. 16 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100, and he has plenty of schools on his trial. Recently, though, he named his top six schools: Connecticut, Kentucky, Arkansas, Florida, Memphis and Tennessee.

Out of that group, Arkansas and Memphis are standing out.

“I have a great relationship with the people there,” Stokes said.

Stokes had said in the past that he would likely have committed to Tennessee prior to Bruce Pearl and the Volunteers parting ways, but he is not ready to make a decision just yet.

“I’m looking at style of play,” Stokes said when asked about the factors in his final decision. “And I want to go to a winning program.”

Sounds like Stokes is looking forward to having a target on his back at the next level too.

Photo: Point Guard U

Posted on: July 15, 2011 1:17 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 1:37 pm

This is why the Memphis job is a great job

By Gary Parrish

I've always insisted -- at least since Louisville, Cincinnati and Marquette left Conference USA -- that though Memphis probably isn't one of the nation's top 10 programs, it's almost certainly one of the top 10 jobs in its current setup. You coach in a soldout and first-class arena for a school that's a national brand, charters every road trip, has access to private planes for recruiting, out-spends all other C-USA members and generally finds yourself in a position to overwhelm most of the league just as Gonzaga overwhelms the WCC.

You can make millions for as long as you want, because it's really hard to lose.

Further proof of that is what's happening down at the Nike Peach Jam.

The Memphis 16-and-under team and the Memphis 17-and-under team have each made the championship games of what is widely viewed as the premier event of the summer circuit. Both teams are loaded with high-major prospects, and most of those high-major prospects grow up wanting to play for the Tigers.

Third-year coach Josh Pastner has already offered scholarships to 17-and-under team members Jarnell Stokes, Shaq Goodwin (who, it should be noted, is not from Memphis but is playing for Memphis and is considering the Tigers) and Austin Nichols, and 16-and-under team members Nick King and Jonathan Williams III. History suggests Pastner will get at least three of those prospects, maybe all five, and one of the stars of the 17-and-under team, Martavious Newby, is practically begging Memphis to recruit him.

So to recap: The Memphis coach has a massive budget, a top-notch arena, a devoted fan base, a loaded natural recruiting base and a league filled with mostly inferior programs that should allow him to cruise through January and February more years than not. Beyond that, the C-USA tournament is played on his homecourt more years than not, meaning he's almost always the favorite to earn the league's automatic bid.

It's a nice setup. If you're wondering why John Calipari stayed nine years and left only for Kentucky, there's your answer.
Posted on: July 12, 2011 1:54 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 2:04 pm

Peach Jam: Where the kids don't always listen

By Gary Parrish

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- Summer basketball gets a bad reputation because the play is often reckless and undisciplined. Sometimes the coaches are to blame for that, no question. But other times the players are responsible for the crazy stuff you see on the court, which brings me to a game here at the Peach Jam Tuesday morning between the Memphis YOMCA and the California Supreme.

Memphis led 73-71 with 11 seconds left.

California had the ball.

A timeout was called.

So the Memphis coaches -- Jevonte Holmes and John Wilfong -- used that opportunity to tell their players to do anything but give up an open 3-pointer. If California got a bucket inside the arc to force overtime, Holmes and Wilfong could live with that. But what they wouldn't be OK with is an open 3-pointer at the buzzer that cost them a win.

So guess what happened after the timeout?

"We give up an open 3-pointer in the corner," Wilfong said. "Wide-open 3-pointer."

The jumper bounced off the rim, the buzzer sounded, and so Memphis escaped with the victory anyway. But the fact that Memphis nearly lost at the buzzer -- despite 21 points from Martavious Newby and 14 each from Jarnell Stokes and Shaq Goodwin -- wasn't a coaching problem as much as a lack of focus by the players in the final seconds.

"We told them over and over again -- no open 3-pointers," Wilfong said with a smile, at which point Herb Wright came over and joined the conversation. Wright coaches the Memphis YOMCA 16-and-under team. He had not heard a single word of our conversation, which made his opening question to Wilfong hilarious.

"Why," Wright asked, "did that kid get that open 3 in the corner?"
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