nike air max thea print What might have been at Memphis
Still, it was fun for the trio to dream about such a season in college. And, the way the three of them romanticize about the prospect of playing together, if one wasn’t careful, you’d think it almost occurred.
“Me, Dajuan, Qyntel . that would have been a dynasty,” Stoudemire said. “We talked about it every night here.”
“We could have been real good,” Wagner said. “We would have had a chance to win it. We talk about it a lot. You wouldn’t have been able to key on any one person. It would have been easier on all of us. Amare would have been the finisher down low and Qyntel would have been the inside outside versatile player.”
“It’s indescribable,” Woods said. “We would have been real good, and something to see. We talk about it a lot when we were all going to Memphis. We would have jelled and worked hard and been together.”According to Woods, they played together once or twice during pickup games last fall when all three were on campus. But that was it, and the closest anyone in Memphis would have ever been to seeing this trio on a Tigers’ decorated court.
“It wouldn’t have happened, it couldn’t have happened because it either would have been Stoudemire or Woods,” Calipari said. “I only could have had one of them. Do you honestly think I would bring in three to four guys who would stay one year? They may fantasize about it, but the reality is we weren’t going to do it. You can’t do it with that many guys.”
And Calipari should know. Wagner left after his fabulous freshman year, while the JUCO star Calipari did sign last season, Chris Massie, also left after one season (Although Massie could be leaning toward returning to Memphis, eligible or not.)
Still, Wagner was already signed, sealed and delivered a year ago when Calipari was recruiting Stoudemire. And he had a commitment from Stoudemire prior to the spring recruiting period last July. But the Stoudemire commitment blew up on Memphis when Stoudemire showed up at the Nike camp with a personal public relations director and a portfolio for members of the media to peruse as if they were looking at hiring a high priced CEO. HBO’s story on how Stoudemire’s grades were falsified by Mt. Zion Christian Academy to keep him ineligible in Florida as a junior in high school after he transferred back home, as well as the financial aid Nike gave to his mother while she was in prison (alleged to be only $100), didn’t bode well for his NCAA eligibility, either.
Woods has gone from JUCO ranks to a lottery lock.
Memphis dropped Stoudemire the first week of July and he agreed to the mutual divorce. No one else really swooped in because it was clear by the end of July that Stoudemire would go straight to the NBA. Ironically, Stoudemire ended up getting eligible for Cypress Creek (Fla.) High and had a relatively quiet off the court senior season in preparation for his positioning as a lottery pick June 26.
But once Stoudemire was gone from Memphis’ sights, Calipari focused on Woods, a hometown player who was at Northeast Mississippi Community College. He got him to sign in November, just as the Tigers were one of the most hyped teams in the country behind the leadership of Wagner.
“As soon as we stopped recruiting Amare, we signed Qyntel . and as soon as we signed him, I knew we had to recruit a terrific player in Rodney Carney (out of Indianapolis) because I knew Qyntel could go,” Calipari said.
Stoudemire was the least likely to make it to Memphis, but he might end up being the most productive in the NBA,
at least if he’s ever properly coached.
“I haven’t had a good coach, not since my ninth grade,” said Stoudemire, who was holding a basketball in the hotel, at the news conference, at the physicals and everywhere he was seen in Chicago last week even though there wasn’t a court in sight. “Once I get the coaching then I’ll be straight. I won’t take five or six years to develop.”
Stoudemire actually seems like he’s finally settled after being passed around, exploited and victimized by the system of high profile high school basketball, let alone dealing with an incarcerated parent at times.
Woods, meanwhile, is latest of the three to join the pre draft hype party after climbing the mock drafts ever since he declared. He’s the prototype small forward, a scoring, slashing 6 foot 9 forward, who would have worked well next to the 6 10 power forward Stoudemire. But getting him to play one season at Memphis, let alone two, could have been a reach considering he was a third year junior college player after redshirting one of his two seasons at Moberly (Missouri) before transferring closer to home.
As for Wagner?Calipari believes his conference freshman of the year and member of C USA’s first team, could have stayed another season, which was the plan. His mother wanted three years out of her son. But that was about as realistic as these three lottery picks playing together in 2002 03.
“I had fun in college,” said Wagner of his one season where he averaged 21.2 points and dished out 3.6 assists for the NIT champion Tigers. “Coach Cal taught me a whole lot about the game. Out of high school I didn’t know much. I was just playing. I would have made an impact last year (in the NBA), but more of an impact this year.”
But could Wagner, Stoudemire and Woods have co existed on the court? We mean, of course, in this fantasy world?
“Yes,” Calipari said. “Dajuan as the two guard, Qyntel as the three and Amare as the four. But the hardest thing would have been all the people in their ears. And for Qyntel and Amare it would have been their first time playing Division I basketball. You couldn’t have that many stars. Lorenzo Romar was a rising star in the profession and likely headed back to the Pac 10 at the first opening, especially at Washington. So, after being passed over at Wisconsin after an interim season ended with a first round loss in the NCAA Tournament two seasons ago, Soderberg is back as a head coach but this time without the stress of trying to earn the job.
“The search took 10 days and in searches that’s not that long. But for me it felt like a long, long time,” Soderberg said two months after getting his first official gig. “I was so anxious to be a head coach again. He’s not that far off.
The Billikens have their best player returning in Marque Perry (14.1 ppg), but Soderberg said Perry must improve his 3 point shooting (25 percent). He can get to the basket, but he’s got to knock down the open shots or else teams will sag off him. Losing second leading scorer Jason Edwin (9.3 ppg) to academics means someone like Drew Diener has to get better over the summer since he’ll be getting more touches and ultimately more shots. And Chris Braun and Kenny Brown must be more assertive inside.
“The million dollar question will be where we get points outside of Marque,” Soderberg said. “We’ve got a veteran squad, but who else is scoring in double figures?”
A question the head coach Soderberg has to solve.
The Big East released its crossover opponents for next season and it could go a long way toward giving teams a chance for the NCAA Tournament. Syracuse is a prime example.