Posted on: July 20, 2009 11:29 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2009 4:57 pm

Former C-USA Player of the Year shot at dice game

Former Memphis basketball star Antonio Burks underwent emergency surgeries at the Regional Medical Center in Memphis on Monday and Tuesday after being shot during a robbery, CBSSports.com has confirmed.

Burks was shot in the stomach while reportedly watching a dice game.

He has undergone three surgeries so far.

He is listed in critical condition.

The 2004 Conference USA Player of the Year was one of several men robbed by three other men who reportedly swarmed the dice game with guns. Burks and one other man were shot. The second victim is in stable condition, according to The Commercial Appeal . The newspaper is reporting that no suspects are in custody.

Former Memphis Tiger Clyde Wade was also at the dice game.

He was unharmed.

Burks averaged 16.0 points and 5.5 assists for John Calipari's Tigers in 2004. The Orlando Magic selected the point guard 37th overall in the 2004 NBA Draft. His rights were immediately traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, for whom Burks played two seasons. He's been out of the NBA since 2006.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: June 27, 2009 7:24 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2009 7:53 pm

Former UK player Pilgrim to visit Memphis

Former Kentucky student Matt Pilgrim is expected to visit Memphis Sunday and could announce a transfer to the C-USA school in the next week, a source close to Pilgrim told CBSSports.com on Saturday.

An initial attempt to reach Pilgrim for comment was unsuccessful.

This development is interesting because Pilgrim transferred from Hampton to Kentucky after the 2007-08 season, sat out last season per NCAA transfer rules and was expected to play for the Wildcats in 2009-10. But that all changed when John Calipari left Memphis for Kentucky, oversigned and thus needed to move players out of the program to allow his six incoming freshmen to enroll.

One of the players moved out was Pilgrim.

He did not want to leave.

And that's one of the reasons why a source close to Pilgrim told CBSSports.com that Calipari is working with new Memphis coach Josh Pastner to make this likely transition go as smoothly as possible. According to a source close to Pilgrim, Calipari and Pastner have been in contact, and Calipari has told Pastner he will not only release Pilgrim to Memphis, but that he will back Pilgrim's expected request of a waiver that, if granted, would allow Pilgrim to play for the Tigers this season.

Under normal circumstances, Pilgrim would have to sit out another year before becoming eligible in 2010-11. But the hope is that the NCAA recognizes that Pilgrim is only transferring for a second time because he was nudged out of Kentucky. In other words, Pilgrim had no say in the matter. And a source close to Pilgrim said there is precedent for the NCAA to grant a waiver under these circumstances.

Pilgrim's connection to Memphis is through Tiger assistant Glynn Cyprien.

Cyprien spent the past two years on Billy Gillispie's staff at UK.

He worked in practices with Pilgrim all last season.
Posted on: June 27, 2009 6:33 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2009 7:16 pm

Former Duke guard to enroll at Memphis

Former Duke starter Elliot Williams has informed Josh Pastner's staff that he plans to transfer (as expected ) to Memphis, sources close to the program told CBSSports.com on Saturday.

Williams' father, Mexwayne Williams, later confirmed the news to CBSSports.com via text message.

An official announcement should come next week.

Williams is a 6-foot-4 guard from Memphis who initially chose Duke over Memphis, Tennessee and Virginia. He started the final 12 games for the Blue Devils last season, but decided to transfer because of what Duke called "family medical reasons." Multiple sources have told CBSSports.com the specific reason is that Williams' mother is battling cancer, an unfortunate development that should allow the former McDonald's All-American to receive a waiver from the NCAA what will make him eligible to play for the Tigers this season.

Sources said Williams will apply for the waiver soon.

He should be a starter for Memphis in its first season under Josh Pastner.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: June 25, 2009 5:11 pm
Edited on: June 25, 2009 5:38 pm

"Closer to home" needs to be close to home

Duke transfer Elliot Williams plans to move "closer to home" and ask the NCAA for a waiver to play next season because his mother is battling cancer. He will reportedly choose between Memphis, Tennessee, Kentucky and Vanderbilt. But the problem with those two statements is that they don't seem to jibe, because there's no chance the Memphis native would get a waiver to play at Tennessee or Kentucky, and even Vanderbilt is a stretch.

At least that's what one Division I coach told CBSSports.com.

According to a Division I coach who has dealt with transfers, the NCAA has "tightened up" the criteria for waivers since allowing Tyler Smith to transfer from Iowa to Tennessee without penalty when Smith's father was battling cancer. Smith wanted to "be closer to home" because of his father's illness, so he picked Tennessee, which is 248 miles from his home in Pulaski, Tenn. The NCAA granted the waiver. But the source said the guidelines are now stricter (even if they aren't clearly defined).

"I know a player who transferred to a school 106 miles from his home, and the NCAA denied the waiver," the source said. "They wanted to know that the player was going to have 'day-to-day responsibilities' with the family member before granting the waiver, and they said that you can't have 'day-to-day responsibilities' if you're 106 miles away."

Assuming that ruling is consistent with the NCAA's current way of thinking, it appears unlikely that Williams could get a waiver to play at any of the schools he's considering except for Memphis. Consider:
  • Vanderbilt is 212 miles from Memphis.
  • Tennessee is 391 miles from Memphis.
  • Kentucky is 423 miles from Memphis.
In conclusion, best I can tell, unless Elliot Williams wants to sit out a year, he must transfer to Memphis.

And that's why it seems to be a near certainty that he'll play for the Tigers next season.
Posted on: June 24, 2009 10:21 am

Williams gets release from Duke

Mexwayne Williams told CBSSports.com last month that his son, Elliot, planned to play his sophomore season at Duke despite multiple sources claiming that the former McDonald's All-American was on the verge of transferring closer to his Memphis home due to circumstances that could allow him to change schools without penalty.

Apparently, that plan has now changed.

Williams has been granted a release from Duke.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Elliot and his family,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. “We fully support him in his efforts to be closer to them during this trying time. He is a good young man with an opportunity to become an outstanding player. We wish him well as he determines his future. He will always be a part of our program and we will always be in his corner."

According to multiple sources, the "family medical reason" that led to Williams' release has to do with his mother. Those same sources said the University of Memphis is the most likely destination for the 6-foot-4 guard, although Ole Miss and Vanderbilt might also be considered "close enough to home" to allow Williams to play next season as opposed to having to sit out a year per normal NCAA transfer rules.

Williams started at Duke toward the end of his freshman season.

He chose Duke out of high school over Memphis, Tennessee and Virginia.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: June 11, 2009 8:20 pm
Edited on: June 12, 2009 2:37 am

Rose responds to gang photo, still mum on SAT

Derrick Rose issued a written statement in response to a picture circulating that shows him flashing a gang sign, but he still hasn't said anything about the NCAA's allegation that he didn't take his own SAT. In other words, the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year doesn't seem to care if you think he committed academic fraud, but he will not have the world under the impression that he associates with gangs.

"Recently, a photo has been circulating on the Internet which appears to depict me flashing a gang sign," Rose said in the statement. "This photo of me was taken at a party I attended in Memphis while I was in school there, and was meant as a joke ... a bad one, I now admit."

A bad one, I now admit?


Trust me, there is NO WAY Derrick Rose wrote that sentence.

So we now know he neither takes his own standardized tests nor authors his own statements.

"I want to emphatically state, now and forever, that Derrick Rose is anti-gang, anti-drug, and anti-violence," the statement continued. "I am not, nor have I ever been, affiliated with any gang and I can't speak loudly enough against gang violence, and the things that gangs represent. In posing for this picture, I am guilty of being young, naive and of using extremely poor judgment. I sincerely apologize to all my fans for my mistake. I pride myself on being a good citizen, and role model, that young people can look up to and I want to urge all my young fans to stay away from gangs and gang-related activities."

That's the statement in its entirety.

It is 161 words.

And though I personally like Derrick Rose and have always found him to be pleasant, if he could really construct sentences like that there would've been no reason for him to have somebody else take his SAT. Far as I'm concerned, that statement about the gang sign is an admission of guilt on the SAT allegation ... an obvious one, I must admit.
Category: NBA
Posted on: June 10, 2009 10:21 am
Edited on: June 10, 2009 10:22 am

Florida is no longer involved with Stephenson

I touched on Lance Stephenson in my column about Tim Floyd , pointed out that it's widely believed that the school that ultimately takes the New York star will be at risk of a similar NCAA investigation. Among the schools I initially listed as still involved with Stephenson were Maryland, Arizona, Memphis and Florida. But a source close to the Florida program told me this morning that the Gators are no longer pursuing Stephenson.
"[There's a) zero (percent) chance we take him," the source said.

And when you consider that Arizona's Sean Miller also seems skeptical, that leaves Maryland and Memphis as the lone schools still believed to be genuinely open to taking Stephenson, although sources close to the Memphis progam have long insisted Josh Pastner and his staff do not have a good feeling for where they stand, don't really know what's happening with Stephenson or what he's thinking.

My guess?

Stephenson never plays in college.

Just like I'm assuming Renardo Sidney never plays in college, either.

And truth be told, that'll probably be what's best for everybody involved.
Posted on: June 8, 2009 4:04 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2009 4:09 pm

Sometimes it hurts to not be affiliated with Nike

Martavious Newby is one of the better young prospects in the city of Memphis.

He had an interesting quote in Monday's newspaper about Memphis' Elite Camp.

"I was about to go to Tennessee's camp up there, but I changed my mind," Newby told The Commercial Appeal . "I mean, I like Tennessee, but I had to come over here and see how it is, because I like Memphis. That's where I might be going. So I told my high school coach I changed my mind."

Changed his mind?

"I love him to death," Newby's AAU coach, Keith Easterwood, told CBSSports.com on Monday. "But he never had a mind to change."

Before you can understand this story -- and, specifically, how Memphis ended up with most of the top local players on campus last Friday and Saturday -- you need to understand the back story, that Easterwood coaches the best Class of 2011 and 2012 prospects in the area. You also need to know that his team is funded by Nike. And that Memphis is a "Nike" school. And that Tennessee is an "Adidas" school. And that both schools held Elite Camps this past weekend.

OK, you got all that?


Now I'll let Easterwood tell the story.

"I polled my kids after a game," Easterwood said. "I asked 12 kids: 'Do you want to go to the Memphis Elite Camp or the Tennessee Elite Camp?' ... And all of them, to a man, said they wanted to go to Knoxville. Well, that was good for me. So we did what we had to do to get prepared to get them up there, talked to parents, one thing and another."

And then ...

"I got some calls, some were shoe-affiliated," Easterwood said. "Nike, Adidas, you can connect the dots. ... Memphis is Nike. I'm with a Nike AAU program. And it was expressed to me that it would be in my best interests to stay home and not make the trip to Knoxville, which is what we ultimately did."

Easterwood declined to name the person who called him, but promised it was a "person of influence" with Nike ties. He said he was also told that one of his players, Andre Hollins, might not get an invitation to this week's prestigious Nike Hoop Jamboree in St. Louis if he attended UT's Elite Camp instead of Memphis' Elite Camp.

"The kids didn't know the behind-the-scenes stuff," Easterwood said. "But I had to let [Hollins'] parents know what was at stake if they made that trip."

Once Easterwood told them, they didn't make that trip.

And Hollins' invitation to the Nike Hoop Jamboree subsequently arrived, as expected.
Category: NCAAB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com