Jaylen Fisher picks UNLV over hometown Memphis
This decision didn’t surprise many Memphis fans, in fact, it ended rather anticlimatically. Bolton High (Memphis) star and number one prospect in the state, Jaylen Fisher, has committed to UNLV. Fisher chose UNLV over Memphis, Arkansas, Indiana, and Baylor.
Fisher is the 34th ranked 2016 prospect according to ESPN. Memphis was hoping that a 50/50 chance of landing Fisher was possible. Arkansas was also a strong contender. Fisher made official school visits to Arkansas, Memphis, and UNLV. He was obviously the Tigers number one prospect since Skal Labissiere had long since chosen Kentucky. Labissiere was also a Memphis area product from Lausanne High School.
This decision leaves Memphis now with one 2016 recruit to this point. Ironically, they just received that commitment today from Southwest Tennessee Community College player Jimario Rivers.
Over the past several months Memphis fans have seen hometown kids leave the program, we have seen a hometown kid who did not attend Memphis get selected in the first round of the NBA Draft, and we have seen hometown high school kids bounce their ball right out of Memphis.
Was this a no-brainer? Is UNLV a top tier basketball school right now with an all league coach? No, they were 18-15 last season and finished seventh in the Mountain West. Their head coach, Dave Rice, is now fairly comfortable in that hot seat like Josh Pastner. So what would make a kid want to chose a mediocre program across the country instead of playing for his own hometown, tradition rich, mediocre team?
No matter what the answer is, the fact is people are numb to Tiger basketball now. This should hurt, but it was expected. The recruiting well has not only dried up, it has caved in under Josh Pastner. The Tigers only real recruiting accomplishment over the last three years was getting Dedric and K.J. Lawson. That recruitment felt more like a business deal than a recruiting job. You give me a job as an assistant coach, and I will assure you my top prospect sons commit to play for us. Memphis never really recruited Cam Payne who now plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Granted, a lot of coaches missed on Payne, but most of them were not located right down the street from him either. The Tigers never had a shot at Skal Labissiere. They missed on Armond Davis, a bench player from the College of Southern Idaho, just last month. Now, another hometown kid decides he would rather take his chances over 1,500 miles away, at another mediocre basketball program, than play for the University of Memphis.
The Tigers have a few other prospects still on the board but lets face it, the real program difference makers have already made their decision. We are now talking about D-1 bench players. The Tigers have five seniors, three to four of them are sure to see starting minutes this season. Josh Pastner is not doing a very good job replacing those minutes. Sure we may patch work together a roster that consists of the Lawson’s and six other JUCO players. But is that what the program is striving for, or is that what it’s settling for?
Oh yeah, then there is that annoying task of actually coaching the team, and making them better.
How many wins do you think Memphis will get this year in NCAAB? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
Brandon Reid covers NCAAB and the Memphis Tigers for MyFantasySportsTalk.com, follow him on Twitter @New_Breid
He is from Memphis and graduated from Arkansas State University with a degree in broadcast journalism. He loves the Memphis Tigers, Grizzlies, Titans, and Arkansas State Red Wolves.
“I promise to bring information, insight, and strong opinion. Let the debate begin.”
You can follow Brandon on Twitter @New_Breid