Pastner did it again. Landing Austin Nichols put the stamp on a stellar class featuring Nick King, Markell Crawford, Pookie Powell, and Kuran Iverson. It came as a surprise to most. Nichols looked to be headed out east to play for the Vols, but luckily for Josh Pastner and the Memphis Tigers, things didn't work out this way.
Memphis fans might be getting used to these types of surprises. Tarik Black was on his was to Marquette. Chris Crawford was a Tennessee lock. Did anyone see Stan Simpson coming? What about Jelan Kendrick (even though he ultimately never saw the court)? It's gotten to the point where, no matter what you hear on the recruiting trail, you can't count out Memphis.
With the addition of Nichols, this year's recruiting class should have Memphis ready to enter the Big East. It's better than the heralded class featuring Crawford, Black, Barton, Kendrick, Jackson, and others. Most of all, it fills every conceivable need the Tigers have, and then some. This class will also have the added benefit of some upper class leadership to show them the ropes. The depth of the Tigers as they enter the Big East (barring some major unforeseen defections, draft entries, or non-qualifiers) will be astounding.
As if he hadn't done it already, Pastner has cemented himself as a top-notch recruiting machine. You can question his X's and O's, you can question his ability to motivate, you can even question his ability to deal with unruly players, but you can't question his ability to get players. He's gotten big time recruits each year he's been here, and when he needed to add big classes, he came through.
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