Earlier this week, coach Josh Pastner learned his Memphis Tigers would not be getting Bolton High School and Top-40 point guard Jaylen Fisher as he verbally committed to UNLV.
Fisher, of course, was being eyed as next season’s point guard at the University of Memphis.
Now, Pastner may be wondering who will be this season’s point guard in the wake of news that senior Kedren Johnson could be facing season-ending shoulder surgery.
Pastner told media on Thursday, Oct. 8, that a decision had not been reached on Johnson having surgery. If he didn’t have surgery, he would be attempting to play with pain and at something less than 100 percent – a situation not likely to work over the duration of the season.
Johnson averaged 6.7 points and 2.7 assists last season and his weight has been an issue, but he reportedly dropped more than 20 pounds this offseason.
As for Fisher, he was ranked the No. 34 overall prospect in the class of 2016 by ESPN.com, and had been a primary recruiting target for the Tigers. He also considered Arkansas before making his verbal commitment to UNLV.
– Don Wade
Matt Barnes allegedly attacked New York Knicks coach Derek Fisher last weekend at the home of Barnes’ estranged wife, Gloria Govan, according to a report from the New York Post.
Barnes, who was acquired via trade by the Memphis Grizzlies this summer, reportedly drove almost 100 miles from Grizzlies training camp in Santa Barbara, Calif., to his former home in Los Angeles. Sources told the New York Post that Barnes’ intent was to “beat the s—t” out of Fisher.”
Late Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 7, the Grizzlies released the following statement: “We are aware and currently gathering information regarding today’s report involving Matt Barnes. We have no further comment at this time.”
The Post reported that Fisher, a former teammate of Barnes with the Lakers, is in a romantic relationship with Govan; she stars on the TV show “Basketball Wives LA.”
One source, according to the Post, said when Barnes heard Fisher was at his former residence, Barnes “went crazy.”
The Post quoted another source close to Fisher as saying that Barnes went after Fisher but that Fisher “only had a few scratches …. Derek’s not going to press charges. He’s going to let it go.”
Barnes played in the Grizzlies’ first preseason game of the season on Tuesday, Oct. 6, at FedExForum against the Houston Rockets.
– Don Wade
Walk-through magnetometers (metal detectors) have been installed at all entrances to FedExForum, and will be standard practice for entering fans starting with the Memphis Grizzlies’ first preseason game Tuesday, Oct. 6, vs. the Houston Rockets.
The new security measure, mandated by the NBA during its annual security meetings, will remain a standard operating procedure at all Grizzlies games, including the entire preseason and postseason, and at all NBA teams’ arenas.
The walk-through metal detectors are believed to enhance security and will replace handheld devices as the primary tool at FedExForum.
The Grizzlies are stressing that fans should arrive earlier at games and bring only necessary items. Separate express lanes will be available for those without bags to be inspected. Fans will have to place their cell phones, cameras and keys on a security table prior to walking through the metal detector, but they will not need to remove their hats, shoes, belts, watches or jewelry as with airport security.
Expectant mothers and ADA guests are not subject to the magnetometers and will instead be screened through handheld devices.
The list of prohibited items details what you’ll need to leave at home, including your selfie stick.
– Don Wade
The Memphis Grizzlies are going to get a little national recognition – before the season even starts.
NBA TV’s weeklong “NBA Real Training Camp” series will showcase the Grizzlies on Friday, Oct. 2, from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The series, which began airing Tuesday while highlighting the Minnesota Timberwolves, also was to feature the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday, Sept. 30, and the Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday, Oct. 1.
The Grizzlies edition of the show – providing exclusive access during the team’s practice and including interviews with players, coaches and front office personnel – will air on NBA TV and be streamed live on NBA.com. Jared Greenberg will host the program from Santa Barbara, Calif., with NBA TV analyst and NBA Hall of Famer Reggie Miller.
The Grizzlies start their preseason schedule on Tuesday, Oct. 6, at FedExForum vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder. The regular season starts here Wednesday, Oct. 28, against the Cavs and LeBron James.
– Don Wade
ESPN’s Marc Stein has released his first edition of the 2015-16 NBA power rankings and the Memphis Grizzlies check in at No. 7, just behind the Houston Rockets and just ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans.
Not surprisingly, the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors are No. 1. The reigning Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers, who help the Grizzlies open the season Oct. 28 at FedExForum, are No. 2. The San Antonio Spurs, whom Stein says “won the summer” with their moves, are third. From Nos. 2-8, it’s all the Wild, Wild West. The L.A. Clippers are 4, the OKC Thunder 5, and then the Rockets, Grizz and Pelicans.
Stein writes: “The Grizz are still waiting on the trade out of the West they dream about. They still need more shooting too. But the deals for uber-athletic Brandan Wright (to complement Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph) and Matt Barnes (who was seemingly born to grit ‘n’ grind) look like sneaky-good moves to keep Memphis in the elite.”
– Don Wade