Skip to content

Josh Pastner: ‘We have a long way to go’

Sep 24, 2013, 10:25 PM EDT

Memphis Tigers Head Coach Pastner talks with Johnson and Black during a time out during the first half of their third round NCAA tournament basketball game against the Michigan State Spartans in Auburn Hills

Josh Pastner has a highly-touted recruiting class, couple that with recent news that Missouri transfer Michael Dixon is eligible to play this season, and Memphis once again has high expectations in the preseason.

Though, during Monday’s media session, Pastner made it clear that for all the potential this team has, still has a lot of room for improvement.

“We have some work to do,” Pastner said. “We have a long way to go. We’re not near a finished product at all. There’s some strengths, and we have some weaknesses. We’ve got to get a lot better in a lot of different areas.”

The strength is clearly the guard play with Dixon, Joe Jackson, Geron Johnson and Chris Crawford, a quartet that some argue is the best in the country.

“I don’t think if I could (coach) another 35 years, that I will have another team where I have four senior guards,” Pastner added. “Not just senior guards, but these are four guys who have been on teams that won 30 games and have played major minutes.”

The Tigers will still be matched up with some of the nation’s other top guard play including UConn and Louisville, who are now conference foes in the brand-new American. The Tigers face the Huskies and Cards twice this season, and their inaugural conference schedule is anything but favorable from the start.  Memphis begins league play on the road in South Florida, then the four following games include home against Cincinnati, on the road at Louisville and Temple, wrapping up against UConn in the FedEx Forum.

Before the Tigers even get conference play, they have an out-of-conference slate that features Oklahoma State (another premier backcourt), Florida and potentially an improved LSU team.

Memphis is predicted to be at the top of the conference and rightfully so. Though Pastner and his Tigers have succumbed to preseason hype in the past (remember last season’s Battle 4 Atlantis performance?). He took some heat off when he won an NCAA tournament game, though he still doesn’t have a top-25 win under his belt. He has several tough out-of-conference games and a much more difficult conference schedule, so maybe calming the hype around his program this preseason isn’t the worst decision.

Latest Posts
  1. Kansas, Indiana on opposite sides of 2015 Maui Invitational bracket

    Jul 27, 2015, 8:12 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Potentially four top-25 teams will be in the 2015 field.

  2. Colorado State’s Antwan Scott granted sixth year of eligibility

    Jul 27, 2015, 5:51 PM EDT

    Grambling State Grambling State

    Scott averaged 15.7 points per game for Grambling during the 2013-14 season.

  3. Nik Stauskas trolls Ohio State fans, claims Thad Matta didn’t know who he was (PHOTO)

    Jul 27, 2015, 5:18 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The former Big Ten Player of the Year (inaccurately) trolls Ohio State fans

  4. Top two 2017 recruit Michael Porter Jr. dunks all weekend (VIDEO)

    Jul 27, 2015, 3:45 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 10.29.28 AM

    It’s pretty obvious why people like Porter.

  5. Highlights of Wenyen Gabriel, who’s been offered by Kentucky, Duke (VIDEOS)

    Jul 27, 2015, 2:17 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 2.15.47 PM

    Gabriel was the biggest stock riser for the month.

  6. Ron Baker was the best college player for Team USA at Pan-Am Games

    Jul 27, 2015, 1:51 PM EDT

    baker Getty Images

    Denzel Valentine and Taurean Waller-Prince also played well in stretches.

  7. Ole Miss star guard arrested for DUI over the weekend

    Jul 27, 2015, 12:26 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Stefan Moody was the leading scorer last season for Ole Miss.

  8. Jamal Murray’s Pan-Am Games highlights (VIDEO)

    Jul 27, 2015, 9:39 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The hype surrounding Murray as a prospect has never been higher.

  9. Wichita State forward working hard to improve offensive repertoire

    Jul 26, 2015, 7:50 PM EDT

    wichstkelly Getty Images

    Rashard Kelly averaged just 2.9 points per game last season. With Darius Carter and Tekele Cotton gone, he’ll need to do more in 2015-16.

  10. Following acquittal, Rick Brunson discusses son Jalen’s recruitment to Villanova

    Jul 26, 2015, 6:35 PM EDT

    Jalen Brunson AP

    Villanova had been Jalen’s favorite for a long time according to his father Rick.

  11. Former Memphis forward Austin Nichols transferring to Virginia

    Jul 26, 2015, 2:10 PM EDT

    Austin Nichols (AP Photo) Austin Nichols (AP Photo)

    Nichols picked Memphis over Virginia the first time around, and once the Tigers dropped their transfer restrictions many expected him to land in Charlottesville.

  12. Four-star Class of 2016 guard Zach Norvell scores 53 points, drops 14 3-pointers in Las Vegas (VIDEO)

    Jul 26, 2015, 10:22 AM EDT

    Jon Lopez/Nike Jon Lopez/Nike

    Chicago native Zach Norvell had one of the best games of the July live evaluation period on Saturday night by scoring 53 points and knocking down 14 3-pointers.

  13. Devonte’ Graham dunks on a kid at Kansas basketball camp (VIDEO)

    Jul 26, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Devonte Graham AP

    The lesson here is don’t smack talk Devonte’ Graham if he’s your camp counselor.

  14. United States wins bronze at Pan-Am Games

    Jul 25, 2015, 5:46 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Ron Baker and Taurean Waller-Prince played well for the Americans.

  15. UMass commit Unique McLean wins dunk contest with ridiculous under-the-legs finish (VIDEO)

    Jul 25, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    unique

    UMass commit Unique McLean threw down a ridiculous dunk contest slam in front of a sea of people.

  16. 2016 small forward Lamar Stevens focusing on eight schools

    Jul 25, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Jon Lopez/Nike Jon Lopez/Nike

    The Team Final rising senior tweeted out his list Friday morning.

  17. Friday Las Vegas Recap: De’Aaron Fox, Charlie Moore have monster games

    Jul 25, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    (Jon Lopez/Nike) (Jon Lopez/Nike)

    A pair of Class of 2016 lead guards put together great games on Friday night while a two-sport athlete and the younger brother of an SEC guard also stood out.