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It’s been 5 years, but Pastner still following Cal — just ask him

RALEIGH, N.C. — So, at the Saturday press conference at PNC Arena, a Washington Post reporter asked Tigers coach Josh Pastner what would it mean for the team to advance to the Sweet 16. Here is Pastner’s reply, which you may notice did just about everything but answer the actual question:

“If we don’t get out of this first weekend, I might be working with you at the “Washington Post” next week with the fan base

in Memphis. So no, I mean, look. Last year, they’re always going to find something in the sense

of — and I said this last night and I really believe it. I’m just not a negative guy. I don’t like negative

energy. I believe positive energy. I believe in it. I believe in positive creates positive. I think when

you have a positive energy … it’s contagious. Negativity just — so I’m not into

negativity. People are going to find stuff, not only locally, but nationally. Going into this season, we

beat St. Mary’s, top 25 in the coach as poll. This season, we haven’t beat anybody in the top 25 in

the AP poll. We won that. One time, we’ve never won a game with Jay Bilas doing the game. There

will be about seven other eight other things. So I recognize that — let me tell you this.

We’ve won a lot of games. We’ve won 75, 76 percent of our games in the five years there. And

guys are graduating at record pace. We’re back-to-back Final Fours in the academic, in the

Journal of Higher Education if it was just based on academics.

So, you know, usually when you win that type, 75, 76 percent, people, you get a statue built

of you. I was following John Calipari, who had won in his last four years over 90 percent of his games.

And I understand it. That’s what I was going to be compared to. Every day, that’s what I’m compared

to is those Final Four years. In those Final Four years, Coach Calipari went Elite 8, Elite 8, National

Championship, Sweet 16. In Memphis that’s what I’m compared to is those four years because that’s

who I’m following. That’s why I got the job, because nobody wanted to follow him. They all want to follow me

now. So I recognize that. I accept it, and I just, we got to try to win and try to win as many as we can.

We’ve won a lot of games in our time too.”

Tigers bust brackets

Apparently, the Warren Buffett $1 billion bracket challenge is done.

Thanks to the Memphis Tigers. Only three brackets remained in play when the Tigers played George Washington Friday in the round of 64. The Tigers’ 71-66 victory finished those would-be-billionaires off because they all picked GW to win the game.

Memphis coach Josh Pastner intercepted a question to the players about what they thought about busting the brackets.

“If Warren wants to donate the billion to our university, we’ll take it and use it in good company,” Pastner said with a grin.

Grizzlies don’t make a deal and sometimes the best trades don’t get made

Barring a delayed announcement, the NBA trade deadline (2 p.m. Central Time) has passed without the Grizzlies making a move.

Not a real surprise and, for the record, just fine with point guard Mike Conley.

“It’s on everybody’s mind,” he said before Thursday’s practice and about two hours ahead of the deadline. “It’s a tough time of year. Some guys are really worried and some guys are not. When it’s over, it’s over. We feel like we’ve got everything we need here.”

Conley recalled the time, several years ago, he was told he probably would be traded and didn’t play in that night’s game.

“That one worked out for us,” he said of one of the best trades the team never made.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tony Allen wants to keep grinding in Memphis

Trade rumors are just that — rumors. One well-circulated rumor has guard Tony Allen and small forward Tayshaun Prince going to Minnesota for forward Chase Budinger and guard J.J. Barea.

Is the rumor true? Will anything happen before the NBA trade deadline of 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20?

Odds are against any rumored trade coming true, but you never say never. Allen hopes to play Friday night here vs. the Los Angeles Clippers. He has been out more than a month with a sprained wrist.

But he made clear before practice Wednesday, a little more than 24 hours before the trade deadline, he hopes to remain in Memphis.

“I’ve got three years left on my deal,” Allen said. “It ain’t a bad thing to be wanted, you know? If anything changed, I understand it. It’s a business. There’s nothing special about me.

“I love being here,” Allen said. “It’s where my heart is at, it’s where I made a name for myself. I wouldn’t imagine being at no other arena getting ready for a game.”

Allen said no one in the organization has said anything to him about a possible trade.

“I just look at it as rumors,” said Allen, alias The Grindfather. “But if that is the case, I wish I was told. I’m 10 years in. Hopefully, I get that much respect. But like I said, they all rumors.”

 

 

 

Grizz PG Mike Conley out at least 1 week with ankle sprain

Memphis Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said before Saturday night’s game at FedExForum against the Milwaukee Bucks that point guard Mike Conley has a grade two right ankle sprain and will miss at least one week.

“We’ll evaluate at that point,” Joerger said.

Conley injured the ankle in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s win at Minnesota. He is leading the team in points (18.0) and assists (6.3).

The Grizzlies (25-20) have seven games before the All-Star break, including the Saturday, Feb. 1 game vs. Milwaukee.

Joerger said rookie Nick Calathes would start in Conley’s place. Calathes, who played four years in Europe, has had a rough transition to the NBA and is averaging 3.0 points and 2.2 assists. He has been a 50 percent free-throw shooter (18-for-36). And he has struggled to get the team into half-court sets.

Joerger went away from Calathes after Conley’s injury and played shooting guard Courtney Lee at the point, but also used Mike Miller and Tayshaun Prince to get the ball up the court and the Grizzlies into their offense.

“He’s a guy that’s played a lot of big games overseas,” Joerger said of Calathes. “He’s got the support of everybody in this locker room. We are going to go with him.”

 

 

 

Dansette

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