Representatives of all 30 NBA teams were in attendance at Pro Day for the University of Memphis men’s basketball team on Oct. 6.
And, rightly so.
The Tigers have added two of the more notable faces of the Class of 2022 to this year’s team in five-star center Jalen Duren and five-star signee Emoni Bates, who is projected to go No. 1 overall in the 2023 NBA draft.
The first day of the two-day event was used for determining the players’ measurables and displaying skills tested during the NBA regular combine.
Day two featured an open practice in front of NBA scouts and the Memphis Rebounders Club.
Head coach Penny Hardaway geared the 90-minute session into two-on-two and five-on-five drills to demonstrate how players perform in certain situations.
“It means a lot having all of these scouts here,” said Hardaway. “When you come to the University of Memphis, you will get this opportunity to get in front of scouts before the season starts. This is like Disney World for these kids to see all these teams with their logos on their chests.”
Asked if he was nervous in front of the scouts, Duren said, “I was not nervous, but I was excited. Just for them to see my growth since the last time they saw me and to show them how much I have been working on. It was just another day at practice for me.”
Bates, who already has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, said, “I was trying to treat it just like just another day at the gym. I was telling my teammates just come here, and work hard and try to make each other better.”
Pro Day unfolded one week to the day before Memphis Madness (Oct. 13), considered the kickoff of the Tigers’ basketball season.
For full coverage of the ‘Madness,’ which Hardaway uses to rev up fans and usher in recruits, check back here at www.TSDMemphis.com.
IARP – update
The James Wiseman issue from two years ago continues to linger over the men’s basketball program.
The Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP) has yet to yield a ruling on the Memphis case.
Memphis is accused of playing an ineligible play in Wiseman for three games. Wiseman was issued a 12-game ban by the NCAA. However, when he was set to return to the program, he decided to leave the team and concentrate on preparing for the NBA draft.
For many of the Tigers’ faithful, some type of punishment short of being barred from the NCAA tournament this season would be a best-case scenario.
- Memphis has been ranked as high as seventh in the nation in most preseason college basketball polls, including ESPN’s way-too-early basketball rankings. The first official polls will not be released for another month.
- The Tigers are projected to finish second in the preseason American Athletic Conference coaches’ poll behind Houston.
- Preseason Rookie of the Year – Jalen Duren.
- Preseason All-Conference First Team – Duren and Landers Nolley II.
- Preseason All-Conference Second Team – Emoni Bates and DeAndre Williams.