Chalmers on Kansas beating Memphis in 2008: ‘I took that championship from them’

ALL HE DO IS WIN: Miami Heat point guard Mario Chalmers has won championships at virtually every level, most notably a NCAA title against Memphis in 2008. (Photo by Chris Evans)

Mario Chalmers has come to a point where he expects it.

Ever since Chalmers, the Miami Heat point guard, entered the NBA out of Kansas four year ago, his annual trip to Memphis is one in which he admittedly doesn’t look forward to.

“I always get booed whenever I come here,” Chalmers said before Sunday’s Heat versus Memphis Grizzlies game in FedExForum.

That’s because Memphians recall all too well Chalmers’ memorable shot against the University of Memphis in the 2008 NCAA championship game, one that has drawn comparisons to Michael Jordan’s baseline game-winner that lifted North Carolina past Georgetown in the 1982 title game and Keith Smart’s jumper in the waning seconds that allowed Indiana to upend Syracuse for the Hoosiers’ fifth national crown.

With former Memphis and current Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose closely guarding him, Chalmers drained a desperation three-point basket with 2.1 seconds remaining in regulation that forced overtime. His basket ultimately shifted momentum the Jayhawks’ way, considering Memphis led by nine points with just over two minutes remaining and seemed well on its way to capturing its first national title in history.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, Chalmers’ shot that was later dubbed “Mario’s Miracle,” essentially marked the end of what was a dramatic run through the NCAA tournament. Kansas went on to defeat Memphis, 75-68, to seize the school’s third national championship.

Consequently, the Memphis basketball program endured even greater hardships in the aftermath of arguably the biggest setback in Tiger hoops history. John Calipari eventually bolted the school after nine seasons as head coach to asume  the same position at Kentucky in what he described as the “Notre Dame of college basketball.” It was later discovered that Rose, who played one season at Memphis, allegedly had someone to take his SAT entrance exam, an infraction that forced the program to vacate the entire 2007-08 season. The school also was stripped of its Final Four appearance.

While Memphis was forced to remove its national runner-up banner from the FedExForum rafters, Chalmers’ shot in the waning moments of regulation against the Tigers is what Memphians will remember most. During the Heat’s pregame shoot-around Sunday afternoon, Chalmers enjoyed a rather peaceful atmosphere as he drained shots from as far as 30 feet from the basket in a mostly empty arena.

As expected, however, after he was the first player introduced during the starting lineups, he was met by scattered boos throughout the announced sellout crowd.

He has only himself to blame, but for good reasons.

“They took that personally,” Chalmers said of the shot that overshadowed the winningest season (38-2) in Memphis basketball history.

So much, in fact, that Chalmers said he also remembers during his rookie season how Memphians essentially reminded former Kansas and current Grizzlies forward Darrell Arthur of the disheartening turn of events that unfolded in San Antonio’s Alamo Dome on the night of April 7, 2008.

In the 2008 NCAA Championship game, Chalmers drained a 3-point shot against Memphis with 2.1 seconds left in regulation that forced overtime and ultimately led to Kansas’ third national title. Chalmers’ memorable shot still haunts Memphians four years later.

“I think Darrell Arthur got booed a bit,” Chalmers said with a grin. “I mean, that was one of the biggest shots in college basketball history.”

Arthur, who were roommates with Chalmers for years while at Kansas, said that while he understands the disappointment among Memphians over the Tigers’ loss to Kansas, he is still happy about the outcome.

“I think they booed me my first year,” Arthur said. “We took what they had been waiting a long time for.”

For Chalmers, who was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA tournament, many believed his game-tying shot from beyond the arc in the 2008 title game only elevated his celebrity.

“It enhanced it,” Arthur said. “He’s just that type of player. He won two high school championships. He won a college championship. And he won an NBA championship last year. That was a heckuva game. It probably won’t be another college game like that. I think about that game every day.”

As for Chalmers, whenever he visits Memphis, he realizes Tiger fans are almost certain to remind him of how he broke their collective hearts on what was shaping up to be an exuberant night in the Bluff City. As Chalmers tells it, he has come to point where he expects it.

“I took that championship from them,” Chalmers said.

Which, fortunately for him, was one shining moment.

Andre Johnson covers the NBA for MemphiSport. To reach Johnson, email him at [email protected]. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Derrick Rose misses ‘everything’ about Memphis, gives shout out to Yo Gotti

Derrick Rose woke up Sunday morning missing his days as the star point guard for the University of Memphis. He shared his thoughts via multiple posts on his Twitter account:

Email: [email protected]
Twitter:    @cerrito

More related posts:

 

Memphis Tiger basketball announces 2012-13 national TV schedule

The Memphis Tiger basketball national TV schedule for the 2012-13 season was released today featuring 11 national television games and only one appearance on an ESPN channel.

Here is the full national TV schedule (all times CT):

UPDATE: Memphis vs. Xavier on Feb 26 has been added to the national TV schedule on ESPN2 (6pm).

  • Nov. 22 vs. VCU:   NBC Sports Network   (6 pm)
  • Nov. 23 vs. Duke/Minnesota:   NBC Sports Network/AXS   (12 or 6 pm)
  • Nov. 24 vs. TBA:   NBC Sports Network/AXS   (TBA)
  • Dec. 5 vs. Ohio:   CBS Sports Network   (6 pm)
  • Dec. 15 vs. Louisville:   FSN   (1:30 pm)
  • Jan. 4 at Tennessee:   ESPN2   ( 7 pm)
  • Jan. 19 vs. Harvard:   FSN   (11:30 am)
  • Jan. 26 vs. Marshall:   FSN   (1 pm)
  • Feb. 2 vs. Tulsa:   CBS Sports Network   (1 pm)
  • Feb. 9 at Southern Miss:   CBS Sports Network   (3 pm)
  • Feb. 13 vs. UCF:   CBS Sports Network   (7 pm)
  • Feb. 16 at Marshall:   CBS Sports Network   (7 pm)
  • Feb. 23 vs. Southern Miss:   FSN   (12 pm)
  • Mar. 2 at UCF :   FSN   (12 pm)
  • Mar. 5 at UTEP:   CBS Sports Network   (8 pm)

More regional TV games will be announced at a later date.

Follow @MemphisOnTV for daily updates on what TV channel the game is on.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter:    @cerrito


McTiger

This article originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of MemphiSport.

A majority of the estimated 3,000 blue-and-gray clad fans had filed into the Elma Roane Fieldhouse for the University of Memphis women’s basketball team’s recent pivotal Conference USA game against Alabama-Birmingham in which the No. 2 seed in the C-USA tournament was at stake.

Music was ringing through the loudspeakers.

Player introductions had been announced.

That meant it was time for the Lady Tiger coach Melissa McFerrin to partake in her customary pregame routine that includes her walking from one end of her team’s bench to the next, high-fiving each player and member of her coaching staff.

After all, if she ever slips up and balks at displaying her usual competitive drive to her players, there’s a good chance she will never hear the end of it.

“I tell them I want to hear from them on the sideline,” said McFerrin who, prior to replacing Blair Savage-Lansden at Memphis, coached four years at American University. “If I don’t do it (high-five her players), they will find me.”

To get a clear understanding of why McFerrin’s players have come to embrace her unparalleled brand of coaching, look no further her efficacious body of work in her brief time in the Bluff City.

In just four seasons, McFerrin, the 2008 Patriot Coach of the Year while at American, has gone to great lengths to bring a sense of relevance back to a Lady Tiger program after years of futility, something that has been virtually nonexistent since former Memphis and current Southern Miss coach Joye Lee-McNelis won nearly 60 percent of her games (a 229-156 mark) in 13 seasons as the Lady Tigers’ coach from 1991-2004. Prior to this season, McFerrin compiled a 53-45 record at Memphis, or a .541 winning percentage.

And, after having produced the most single-season wins (23 victories) this year heading into the C-USA tournament hosted by Memphis, it’s clear that McFerrin has successfully revitalized a program that, in recent years, was a distant memory on Selection Sunday.

The way things have played out this year for McFerrin’s ballclub, the possibility exists that could change when ESPN televises it annual NCAA Women’s Basketball Selection Show March 13. Win the C-USA tournament and it’s on to the Big Dance for the eighth time in school history and for the first time since the Lady Tigers advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament in 1995.

“That’s been our goal from the beginning,” McFerrin said. “I’ve said this from our very first press conference, that we will be the class of Conference USA. And I think the room (of reporters) went silent. I remember after the press conference, someone said what I said was pretty bold. But that’s the kind of system we want to run. And we want to recruit players with that mantra.”

Among the players who have adjusted comfortably to McFerrin’s nuts-and-bolts style of coaching is Jasmine Lee. Lee, a 6-foot-2 redshirt senior and University of Georgia transfer, was the Lady Tigers’ leading scorer during the regular season with 14.5 points per game. Lee, to her credit, filled in nicely when her roommate and fellow Georgia transfer, Brittany Carter, suffered a stress fracture in her foot near the season’s halfway point.

Take, for instance, the consistent numbers she registered after Carter went down.

Lee was second in the conference in scoring at 15 points per game, as well as in rebounding with 10.6 boards. Additionally, she is the lone C-USA player to record a double-double in conference games with 15.0 points and 10.6 rebounds per outings, all of which ultimately led to her being named C-USA Player of the Week three times this year.

Lee said McFerrin’s guidance, by and large, enabled her to become more efficient offensively and, most importantly, the catalyst of a team that won four consecutive games to end the regular season and seven of their last eight.

“I think coach McFerrin is great when it comes to getting players to adjust to her system,” Lee, who was rated the 78th player in the country by most recruiting analysts coming out of high school, said. “She’s a big influence to me and Brittany Carter personally. After playing at Georgia, I was sold on coming here and starting a tradition in Memphis. It definitely starts with (McFerrin). Over the years, she’s talked about playing with team unity, so it’s definitely starting to show.”

Next year, McFerrin, a former assistant coach for the WNBA’s New York Liberty and Washington Mystics, will have the chance to exhibit her coaching abilities on a larger stage, one that will include several of the most prominent coaches in America. That’s because Memphis has accepted an invitation to join the Big East Conference in all sports, news that prompted the usual-upbeat McFerrin to joke about having received an unexpected job promotion.

“I said, ‘I just got a new job and I didn’t have to sell my house,” McFerrin, also a former Mystics general manager, said, laughing. “It’s exciting. We’ve just signed the one of the top 10 classes in the United States. That class is good enough to play in the Big East. If you look at UConn, Louisville, and Notre Dame, those are high caliber teams. So no doubt, my job just got harder. But I know what that job looks like. And it’s about winning.”

Something about which the Lady Tigers can identify with this year. Win the C-USA tourney, and there’s no doubt that McFerrin’s pregame high-fiving will continue.

Only this time, it will be on a much larger stage.

 

Written by Andre Johnson, photo by Joe Murphy Photography

Core Things to Look For as Memphis Moves to the Big East

This article originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of MemphiSport

As the Tiger basketball team winds up another season in Conference USA, it’s time to look ahead to how things will start to the look in the future as they move to the Big East. Here are a few things Tiger fans will want to keep an eye on in the future as the scene begins to change a bit.

1. Expectations:  Automatic 20 win seasons will be a thing of the past. The prospect of an undefeated  conference run will be laughable. Can Memphis fans, who are notorious for thinking their team is often better than it is, accept that finishing above .500 in conference should be considered a success?

2. Coaching: Whether it be Josh Pastner or someone else at the helm, in game decisions will become ever more crucial for the Tigers.  A poorly used timeout here or there, lack of the right play called, or a bad substitution could end up costing 4 or 5 games a year. So whoever runs the team will have be on top of his game. And let’s say you do need a new coach at some point. Is the Memphis job now more or less attractive?

3. Tournament at MSG: The Big East Conference Tournament is played perennially at Madison Square Garden. Gone will be home court advantage in the postseason and along with that will likely be regular conference tournament titles. Not being able to host the tournament is also a bit of a hit on the local economy. Will that be offset by teams in big markets making consistent trips to Memphis?

4. Travel: Depending on how the conference ends up looking logistically, Memphis may end up regularly traveling to both coasts. Will this lead to tired legs and some subpar performances? And will Tiger supporters be able to make as many road games as they are used to being able to attend?

5. Scheduling: What kinds of teams will the Tigers put on their no conference slate. It now becomes less important to have national programs on the schedule, so where does that lead? Will there be more of an effort to get local rivals on the bill or will there be more cupcakes?

6. Recruiting: Memphis has been able to recruit elite talent for some time now, but it will be required to perhaps turn it up a notch to even be a middle of the pack team in the league. Will recruiting become harder or easier in the Big East? Just like the coaching aspect, selling the program to potential recruits can no longer include guaranteeing a kid that he’ll win 20 plus games just by being on the floor.

7. National Perception: It will be hard to play the woe is me card and to keep complaining about the lack of respect for the program. Memphis has tended to be a fringe team, an outsider so to speak, and now they are joining the big boys club. Many teams relish the position of being able to have a chip on their shoulder as they always seemed to get overlooked. But that situation will definitely change now. Although you may not quite be seen as Goliath, you are definitely no longer David.

8. Attendance: Memphis has long been a program that draws well, but with such a large arena to fill, there are usually seats to be had for most any game, especially against league foes. Will more big time opponents regularly visiting FedExForum actually make tickets almost virtually impossible to come by?

9. Athletic Director: Who will lead the program going forward? It is possible that more schools will still leave the Big East. Leadership will be crucial during this time. Say what you want about R.C. Johnson, he has kept the basketball program successful. From the hiring of Calipari and Pastner to finally landing Memphis a spot in The Big East, he has kept Memphis on the map.

Michael Jones is the Tiger basketball beat writer for MemphiSport. You can follow him on Twitter @MemphisMichaelJ. 

-Photo courtesy of the BIG EAST Conference/American Eagle Outfitters

Chip on Memphis’ Shoulder Growing Larger

Memphis basketball coach Josh Pastner greeted a few fans, boosters, reporters and well-wishers, among others, during Sunday afternoon’s watch party at the Tournament Player’s Club at Southwind, where the Tigers gathered to watch the NCAA Tournament Selection Show.One by one, his players filled in the front row of chairs in the clubhouse’s main room to get a sneak peak of their first-round opponent and site in this week’s NCAA tournament.Then came the much-aniticipated announcement the 200-or-so witnesses were eagerly waiting for, the one that, given Pastner’s reactions when speaking with reporters, could very well serve as bulletin board material for the Tigers.The Tigers (26-8), despite a late-season surge in which they won the Conference USA regular season title, breezed through the conference tournament and claimed their second straight C-USA championship, and won 20 of their last 23 games, was given a No. 8 seed and will face ninth-seeded St. Louis (25-7) on Friday in Columbus, Ohio.

The winner of the Tigers-Billikens game will face the winner of No. 16-seed Long Island University-Brooklyn and top-seeded Michigan State in Sunday’s second round.

For the Tigers, who earned their second consecutive automatic berth to the NCAA tournament since Pastner replaced his former boss, current Kentucky coach John Calipari, at Memphis in 2008, Sunday’s news of acquiring a lower-than-expected seed left what initially was a festive bunch of Tigers with mixed feelings and sense of disbelief by the time they addressed the media.

Sophomore swingman Will Barton, the C-USA Player of the Year and the team’s leading scorer, went as far as to describe the seeding a “slap in the face.”

“We felt like we played our butts off the last couple of games,” Barton said. “But you can’t go back and ask for a No. 5 seed or a No. 4 seed. “I was shocked. When they was about to say No. 8 seed, I thought they were about to say somebody else.”

While many of the Tigers expressed their displeasure over the low seeding, it appears the selection committee took into account not Memphis’ body of work leading to Selection Sunday, but rather its early-season slate of games, particularly against teams ranked in the top 25.

For instance, the Tigers, who were ranked as high as No. 9 in the country in most preseason polls, went 1-6 against top 25 opponents, including losing twice to Georgetown, whose strength of schedule is 14, according to cbssports.com.

Conversely, Memphis, whose strength of schedule improved from as low as 49 near the halfway point of the season to 20 over the past week, made a strong case for securing a higher seed with key wins over Xavier, Belmont, and Southern Miss, all of whom made the field of 68.

Still, Pastner, exhibiting his usual slight smirk while taking questions from reporters, found it somewhat difficult to embrace the “No. 8” that flashed next to Memphis on the 40-inch flat-screen television mounted to the wall a few feet from where his players sat.

“We are going in as the underdog,” Pastner said. “We have that underdog mentality, and in order for us to earn our respect, we’re going to have to win. I definitely felt like we should have gotten a five seed. We’re definitely going in with a chip on our shoulder.”

Barton was quick to echo Pastner’s fearless disclosure. Considering he feels the Tigers’ recent success has been overlooked, he believes displaying a sense swagger heading into the Big Dance is inevitable.

“What I got planned, I don’t care if the game is played in Athens (Greece),” Barton said. “People are sleeping on us, but that’s a part of the business. Sometimes you’re popular, and sometimes you’re not.”

Win a couple of games this weekend, including a potential second-round, 2008 Sweet 16 rematch against Michigan State, and chances are the Tigers could earn the respect they discovered was nonexistent Sunday when No. 8 appeared next to Memphis.

But first thing’s first, a date with a St. Louis team led by veteran coach Rick Majerus.

“We’ve got to win the first game first,” Pastner said.

Chip on their shoulders and all.

Andre Johnson is a regular contributor for Memphisport. You can contact him by email at [email protected] 

-Photo by Justin Ford

The Kings make it 5 in a row

I thought I would not be able to say this all season. The Kings have now won 5 in a row! Seriously, I still can’t believe it. Two more wins last weekend.

Last Friday night at Landers Center the RiverKings continued their winning streak as they won their fourth game in a row as they edged the Huntsville Havoc 4-3.

David Wilson was steady between the pipes as he stopped 21 of 24 shots.

Then the Kings went on the road for a Sunday matchup with Columbus. This was a very close game but the RiverKings kept their winning streak alive as they squeaked by the Cottonmouths 2-1.

Kings netminder David Wilson was again steady between the pipes as he stopped 21 of 22 shots directed his way.

Up next for the Kings- Landers Center(formerly the DCC)- Saturday, January 28-The Fayetteville FireAntz are back in town…game time is 7:05pm. It’s Pack the House and National Wild Turkey Federation Jersey Night as the team will wear specially designed NWTF jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game.

Tuesday – the Surge come to town. Game time is 7:05pm- Landers Center(formerly the DCC)

 Joe Sports thoughts

What can I say? I can’t argue with five wins in a row. Believe it or not, I am the kind of person who focuses on the positive and for the Kings players this is positive.

I hope the last five victories is something the team will build on.

That’s the way I see it and I’m Joe Sports

Would you like to email Joe or is he just right all the time.

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Kings win on road

 

Wonders never cease…The Kings have now won three games in a row on the road.

The Kings beat up on the FireAntz in Fayetteville last Friday night, beating them 5-2.

On Saturday in Fayetteville the Kings squeaked by the FireAntz 5-4 in overtime for their third straight victory.

The Kings other victory on the road was vs the Surge, the previous Sunday, edging them 3-2 in OT.

Here’s some news from the Kings this week.

The RiverKings announced that goaltender Scott Darling has been called up by the Wichita Thunder of the CHL. That hurts us big time.

The Kings also announced that the team has acquired forward Matt Whitehead and defenseman Tanner Hlookoff from the Fayetteville FireAntz in exchange for defenseman Chris Pontes. Terms and conditions were not released. Big moves Landmine…Big Moves.

The SPHL announced that Mark Magnowski of the RiverKings is the SBK Player of the Week for January 9-15. Good going Mark!!

News from the Past: The Kings announced Tuesday that forward Rob Sich has been removed from team suspension and subsequently released. Really !!

January 20, 2012 at 7:05 PM- Landers Center-formerly the DCC. Huntsville is in town. Then the Kings hit the road once again for a Sunday matchup with Columbus.

Joe Sports thoughts

Like I said last week, if there isn’t any changes from the top down, this season is history.

The only changes the Kings made this week was not blockbuster moves. Forward Matt Whitehead and defenseman Tanner Hlookoff from the Fayetteville FireAntz in exchange for defenseman Chris Pontes. Come on Landmine, what’s up with that?

I GUESS THE OWNER ISN’T LISTENING OR READING.

What did I say last week?

If no changes by NEXT Thursday(January 19th) then the message is clear. There truly is no accountability from those signing the paychecks.  There truly is no pride in the jersey. There truly is no hope.

That’s the way I see it and I’m Joe Sports.

Would you like to email Joe or is he just right all the time.

Email Joe Sports at:

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Sputtering Kings look to get back on track in 2012

Hope you all had a great Christmas and happy New Year.

On Friday, Dec. 23rd, the Kings doubled up on the Ice Gators 4-2 at the DCC. I got one of the things on my wish list early. A win.

But that was the end of the winning streak.

On Monday December 26th the Kings got spanked by Knoxville 5-1. Too much turkey in the Kings bellies, I expect.

On Tuesday December 27th, things did not get any better as Huntsville knocked off the Kings by a score of 5-3. Too much drink in the Kings bellies.

On Thursday the 29th of December Pensacola doubled up on the Kings 4-2. It takes a while for a Christmas hangover to go away. I’m just getting over mine now.

On Friday the 30th. The Ice Gators edged the Kings 3-2. See what did I tell you, it takes a while.

Saturday, New Years Eve, the Ice Gators did not show up at all, well they actually did, but not on their skates. Must have had too much bubbly after the win on Thursday. They were spanked by the Kings, yes you heard that right, they were spanked by the Kings 6-0.

It was a nice way to end the year. A win.YIPPIE !!

On Tuesday January the 3rd…YES YOU’RE HEARING IT RIGHT.

TWO WINS IN A ROW.

The Kings edged the SURGE 3-2 IN A SHOOT-OUT.

For the first time this season, Kings players actually got under the oppositions skin.

Now lets’ not get too excited, yes we have won two in a row, but folks, this is not a well coached hockey team. We got lucky Saturday, the Gators, were not even there. Tuesday, we won against a very weak Surge team in a shootout. But hey, I’ll take the two wins.

Joe Sports Thoughts…

Show me what you got Kings?

Sometimes all a team needs is a little effort, and things will turn around. Hopefully, that’s what happened Tuesday for the Kings.

I’ll give credit when credit is due. The effort was there on Tuesday. The Kings worked hard against the Surge. They were much more gritty, physical and active everywhere on the ice while giving the Surge few opportunities on our goal. The Surge only had 19 shots.

However, the problem, the Kings have is that they are pathetic on the power play. Again we were 0-for-5.

The team had FIVE power play chances on Tuesday, but all five of them were forgettable. The Kings’ power play unit has no rhythm or fluidity, and the Surge easily killed all five opportunities.

I think the Kings’ problems are becoming clearer now. It’s not that the team isn’t working hard, but instead there’s little chemistry on the roster. They can’t figure out the coach and that is where the chemistry has to come from. I’m not sure if that will change as the season moves forward, but I have to believe the owner will eventually figure it out.

That’s the way I see it and I’m Joe Sports.

Would you like to email Joe or is he just right all the time.

Email Joe Sports at:

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My fav night at the DCC is this weekend, It’s Elvis night, Elvis Jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game. Tickets for Elvis night start at just $8. “Oh honey can you get out my Elvis suit and sideburns.”

Now, I know I’ll get slapped on the hands for this, but Friday night, lets’ just call this one the Toilet Bowl.

The FireAntz are in town. Two bottom feeders going at it. Lets’ thank someone, at least it’s Elvis night.

The Kings are 7-14-2 for 16 points and the Antz are 7-17-2 for 16 points. Should be a barn burner. Make sure you have your designated driver for this tilt.

The Kings are then going on the road as they are in Huntsville, Alabama on Saturday and they then take on the Surge in Biloxi,MS on Sunday.

 

Front Nine: Ferrakohn Hall

This article originally appeared in the January 2012 issue of MemphiSport. 

After playing in the Big East with Seton Hall, this 6’8” 224 lb. forward transferred to the University of Memphis, Ferrakohn Hall became eligible to play last month.

What do you think the biggest difference will be between playing in Conference USA versus the Big East?

Well, C-USA has a lot of really good teams, a lot of really athletic teams, and that may be a large difference. The Big East is probably a lot more physical. But all college basketball teams are very good. You can’t underestimate anybody’s abilities.

You transferred from Seton Hall to Memphis. What was the main factor that made you come here?

As you can tell, this is home for me. I always wanted to be at home, and when the opportunity presented itself I definitely wanted to just grab hold of it. I love Memphis, Tennessee and I wanted to go out there and play for those guys. And once I get comfortable on the court I can show it all.

When you were a kid, did you envision yourself one day becoming a Tiger? 

Most definitely. I couldn’t see myself doing anything but that. And later on down the road in high school things didn’t go correctly and I couldn’t quite come, but I knew in my mind that I always wanted to get back to Memphis. I grew up watching the old Memphis teams: Kelly Wise and Earl Barron. It goes further beyond that but that was my era of watching guys. My big brother, James Scruggs is a very big fan of Memphis, so that’s how I was.

What would make you consider this a successful season?

That we go on to win big. We want to win a championship, you know. I don’t want personal glory, I just want us to win. To try to win every game from here on out.

Who is the player you most admire or want to be like?

I look at a lot of different players in the NBA and try to emulate those guys’ game like Chris Bosh, Thaddeus Young, Tayshaun Prince. There are a lot of guys that are kind of like me, play the four and have had to play a lot of different positions. There are so many kinds you can’t really name them.

As a transfer, how tough has it been having to sit out the beginning of the year and watch?

It’s been very difficult. You sit there and you want to say things, but at the same time, you know, once you get in there, are you going to be able to do this? So you can’t really voice your opinion until you get in and do your own thing. But now that I’m in there I can see things and I’m starting to try to figure everything out.

Who has better food? Memphis or New Jersey?

Memphis. Come on man. It’s obvious. I’m not into Italian food. I like barbecue and chicken wings, that type of stuff. It’s different up there. We eat Chinese food and Italian but here it’s a lot better.

You can’t necessarily play basketball the rest of your life. What else might you see yourself doing?

I’d like to get into sportscasting. Or sports management or something. The other day I was talking to the bus driver, and I don’t want to be a bus driver. But I’ll do whatever it takes to take care of myself and help my family out.

Your last name is Hall, and you wound up at Seton Hall. Are you going to change your name to Memphis now?

I wish my last name was Memphis, but it’s all good, that’s my middle name. I love Memphis. I bleed blue.

Michael Jones is the Tiger basketball beat writer for MemphiSport. You can follow him via Twitter @MemphisMichaelJ.

-Photos by Justin Ford