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ANALYSIS: Despite roster overhaul, Tigers have loaded up on talent

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The changes at the University of Memphis continue to be in a fluid state. Gone is every scholarship player from last year’s team except Nick Jourdain. There have been several developments in the coaches and support staff.

Former Tiger Andre Turner is slated to be on the staff, but it is not known in what capacity. He served as the head coach of Lane College for the last two seasons, and before that, he coached at Mitchell High School.

Terry Davis

Mike Davis, the former Indiana and UAB coach, will be on staff this season. He coached at Detroit Mercy for the last five seasons. His role has not been identified yet. There have been several other additions and departures on the coaching and administration staff.

There are currently 10 players on the official roster. Those players are Noah Stansbury, Moussa Cisse, Dain Dainja, P.J. Haggerty, Jared Harris, Tyrese Hunter, Baraka Okojie, Colby Rogers, and Tyreek Smith.

Haggerty started all 31 games for the Tulsa Golden Hurricane and ranked 15th in the nation in scoring (21.2), while finishing seventh in the league in assists (3.8). He was second in the AAC in overall scoring, and his 23.4 points per game in league play topped David Jones for first in the conference.

Dainja started all 38 games for the Illini last season, averaging 6.1 points and 3.6 rebounds while shooting a team-high 66.9 percent from the field (101-of-151) in just 10.6 minutes per game.

Hunter played two seasons at Texas and one season at Iowa State. Hunter scored a career-high 30 points (9-13 FG, 9-9 FT), tied his season high with seven assists, and added three steals against Oklahoma in the regular-season finale earlier with Texas, helping him land Big 12 Player of the Week honors on March 11.

Cisse returns to Memphis for his final season. He was the conference Freshman of the Year while at Memphis. He played last season at the University of Mississippi and two seasons at Oklahoma State. He is a rim protector.

A native of Conakry, Guinea, Cisse posted 7.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks as a sophomore in his first season in Stillwater. He then followed up with 6.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game in 2022-23, earning himself a spot on the Big 12 All-Defensive Team for a second-consecutive campaign.

Chemistry

With the bulk of the players on campus, the chemistry issues that led to the disappointing season last year shouldn’t be an issue. With the departure of David Jones to the NBA, the team will need all the time to form into a good unit.

The announcement of Jones staying in the NBA Draft caught the Tigers’ coaching staff off guard. Now they are scrambling to add a couple of additional players to the final roster.

Schedule

The Tigers’ final schedule will not be released until sometime in September. The team had a tough out-of-conference schedule last season, and this season shouldn’t be any easier. The Tigers will travel to Virginia and Clemson. They also will play in the Maui Classic with North Carolina, UConn, Michigan State, Iowa State, Auburn, Colorado, and Dayton. This will be the Tigers’ first appearance in the Classic since 2011. That team finished the season with a 26-9 record. Adonis Thomas, Chris Crawford, and Joe Jackson led that team.

 

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