Tiger Practice, Wednesday

By David Scott - October 18, 2006

MEMPHIS - Hang Time has landed in Memphis for the CUSA Media Day Extravaganza and we’ve headed straight to the on-campus Larry O. Finch Recreation Facility, where Coach John Calipari is currently putting his Tigers through a rigorous workout.

Joining Hang Time at midcourt is CSTV’s Seth Davis, who is preparing for Thursday night’s Full Court Press Conference USA preview special (6-8 p.m. EST on CSTV), which he’ll work live form the FedEx Forum with Pete Gillen. Adam Zucker will anchor from the CSTV New York studio.

The Tigers, in blue and white practice jerseys, are, as the coaches like to say “getting’ after it.” Calipari, the consummate teacher, stops things periodically for instruction, criticism and even some good-natured ribbing.

• Also in the gym for the late afternoon practice is Calipari’s former boss at UMass, Bob Marcum, the current AD at Marshall, who is in town for the media day. His head coach, Ron Jirsa, is arriving in the morning from Huntington.

• Early stand-outs for the Tigers during this session are sophomores Chris Douglas-Roberts and Antonio Anderson and junior Joey Dorsey. But, as usual, Calipari’s squad is LOADED with athletes.

• Calipari’s core staff has changed a bit with the departure of Tony Barbee for the head coaching gig at UTEP. Still blowing whistles for the Tigers are Derek Kellogg (likely the next Cal protégé to land a head coaching job) and John Robic (who has promised to give Hang Time an unfettered tour of Beale Street’s finer establishments). Joining the staff this season is Jose “Chuck” Martin, another rising coach who has previously worked in the “Cal Family” under James “Bruiser” Flint.
• Freshman forward Pierre Niles (from Memphis and the Patterson School, N.C.), who recently had a scope done on his right knee, is sitting out this practice with the knee wrapped. He's cruising around the practice facility on crutches. He’s more than a little bored and managed to find some training table food in the player’s cafeteria where we’re now filing from. He hopes to begin some rehab tomorrow. For now, he’s working on the breaded fish tenders with some Frank’s Red Hot as his dipping sauce. We sampled same, just to make sure it was edible. It was. And is. Thank you Memphis Food Services.

• The expansive Players' Lounge has the TV tuned to NBATV - we made a briefd attempt to put on CSTV for good measure , but were thwarted by a complex remote control from outer space.

• A sign at halfcourt of the practice facility reads “Good is our enemy. . . Dare to be great.”

Hang Time intends to take that philosophy to heart when Calipari brings us for dinner to the “little Italian place that a Long Island woman is running.” Calipari ALWAYS has a little Italian joint wherever he is and the food never disappoints. He also claimed that Memphis Grizzlies coach Mike Fratello has a secret supply of libations at the place and Calipari is vowing to dip into the Fratello Wine Closet. We will gladly aid and abet if that opportunity arises.

• It’s not often a college team gets to run plays with the benefit of an NBA veteran on the floor, but Memphis has just such an advantage as Rod Strickland is part of Calipari’s staff this season. Strickland, who played for Cal Pal, Larry Brown, is also very close with former Tiger Arthur Barclay. Strickland, like Milt Wagner before him, is taking classes to finish up his degree.

• We’ll plan on filing again late night – so check in early AM – and then we’ll begin our day of blogging from CUSA Media Day mid-morning on Thursday. Don’t forget to tell two friends about the Hang Time blog and have them tell two friends and so on and so on. . .

Hang loose

Posted by David Scott at 05:58 PM on October 18, 2006

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