4 guards? Without Witherspoon, why not?

Time for the Memphis Tigers to get creative.

Senior forward Wesley Witherspoon underwent surgery Friday morning to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. Witherspoon, who sustained the injury Nov. 17 against Northwestern State, will miss the next five weeks with a targeted return date of the Jan. 15 game against Marshall.

Photo by Chase Gustafson

“This is a tough break for Wesley, because at the time of the injury, he was carrying us in those first five games,” Memphis coach Josh Pastner said. “Since that injury, we’ve been holding him out of practices, and we’ve limited his time in gameday shoot-arounds. I’m confident, though, that he’ll bounce back quickly and be ready to go when he returns.

“As for the team, we will continue to prepare and move forward with our schedule. None of our opponents are going to feel sorry for us because of this. The players are working hard in practice, and I know they’ll be ready when their numbers are called.”

Though the Tigers don’t have any shortage of wing players, they are thin on players who can play the power forward position. With other bigs Tarik Black, Will Coleman and Angel Garcia all more suited for the center position, the Tigers are at an interesting crossroads.

Perhaps it’s time to consider a four-guard lineup.

Black is showing promise as the starting center, while Coleman’s slump combined with his limited offensive skillset make him a bad fit at power forward. Garcia, meanwhile, is a defensive liability and has shown no consistency on the offensive end.

So what about a Joe Jackson, Will Barton, Chris Crawford, Black and (insert player here) lineup?

It’s got to be under consideration for the Tigers. And with no game until Dec. 16 against Austin Peay, Memphis has time to make some decisions and see what players rise to the top and take control of the team.
Brandon Harris covers Tiger basketball for Memphis Sport. You can follow him on Twitter @bharris901.

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