Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Youth Villages Again Partnering with Tiger Football

Posted By on Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 1:30 PM

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Any cause that fills more seats at the Liberty Bowl is a good one, if you ask me.

Fill those seats with kids . . . all the better. For the 16th season in a row, Youth Villages is partnering with the football program to purchase discount tickets for young fans. For more info (and to see how you can help the cause and fill those seats), visit www.youthvillages.org/tigertickets.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Larry Porter Names Starting QB

Posted By on Mon, Aug 30, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Larry Porter announced the first winner of the Tiger football season, and it's sophomore quarterback Cannon Smith. After battling with freshman Ryan Williams for the nod to start Saturday's season opener at Mississippi State, the son of FedEx founder Fred Smith will take his first snap since transferring from Miami.

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“As we go forward, our starting quarterback will be Cannon Smith,” said Porter at Monday's press luncheon. “We sat back and evaluated the quarterbacks based on three things: decision making, being able to manage the offense, and productivity. And, when you look at the two, Ryan and Cannon, are very similar in terms of their production. They both bring a different style. Overall, I'm very happy with their growth as quarterbacks. So, I look forward to those guys being in position to lead this team.”

Thursday, August 26, 2010

TTT Answer

Posted By on Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 8:00 AM

Among the last 14 coaches at the University of Memphis (dating back to 1924), only one earned a victory in his debut. Who was the coach and what team did the Tigers beat?

Coach Rey Dempsey's Tigers beat Arkansas State at the Liberty Bowl on September 1, 1984. (Dempsey started his two-year career at the U of M with a record of 5-1-1, only to finish 2-11-2.)

Each of the last two Tiger coaches (Rip Scherer and Tommy West) began his Memphis tenure with a loss at Mississippi State.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tiger Trivia Tuesday

Posted By on Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 8:00 AM

Among the last 14 coaches at the University of Memphis (dating back to 1924), only one earned a victory in his debut. Who was the coach and what team did the Tigers beat?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

TTT Answer

Posted By on Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 8:00 AM

The Tigers and Mississippi State have met 42 times on the gridiron. What is the longest winning streak for each program in the series?

Dating back to 1994, the Bulldogs have won their last 10 games against the U of M. (The teams have not played since 2003.) The Tigers' longest winning streak against MSU is three games: 1962, 1963, and 1965. The finest two-year run in Tiger history, of course, came in 1962 and '63, when Memphis went a combined 17-1-1.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Women's Soccer: Top 20

Posted By on Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 9:16 AM

For the first time in the 15-year history of the Tiger women's soccer program, the team is ranked in a preseason top 20. Soccer America has Memphis ranked 18th as they aim to win a fourth consecutive Conference USA championship.

Ashley Berra
  • Ashley Berra

Senior forward Ashley Berra has been named preseason C-USA Offensive Player of the Year. She led the league a year ago in both goals (15) and points (38).

The Tigers open the 2010 season this Friday at St. Louis, then host Samford Sunday evening (6 pm) at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tiger Trivia Tuesday

Posted By on Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 8:00 AM

The Tigers and Mississippi State have met 42 times on the gridiron. What is the longest winning streak for each program in the series?

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

TTT Answer

Posted By on Thu, Aug 12, 2010 at 8:00 AM

The last time the Tiger football team beat Mississippi State, two Memphis players each scored a pair of touchdowns. Who were they?

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The Tigers beat the Bulldogs, 45-35, on September 4, 1993 in Starkville. (17 years to the day before this season's opener.) Isaac Bruce caught a pair of touchdown passes (one covering 44 yards, the other 35) from Steve Matthews. And senior tailback Larry Porter scored twice (an eight-yard run and a one-yard dash).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tiger Trivia Tuesday

Posted By on Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 8:00 AM

The last time the Tiger football team beat Mississippi State, two Memphis players each scored a pair of touchdowns. Who were they?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Two Cents on Will Barton

Posted By on Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 11:32 AM

It appears Will Barton's Tiger career has ended before the first cross-over dribble. Barton apparently required more than eight semesters to complete high school, thus making him ineligible to play as a college freshman according to a recent NCAA regulation. (Barton and the university are appealing, and we know how NCAA appeals tend to go.)

Will Barton
  • Will Barton

One of three top-15 recruits landed by second-year coach Josh Pastner, Barton would have likely started at shooting guard, with fellow frosh Joe Jackson at the point. Would have made for an electrifying Tiger backcourt.

But only for a season.

We've reached the point with college basketball where the best fans can hope for is an elite one-year run. The NBA's age requirement for draftees has forced coaches (from John Calipari to Josh Pastner) to roll eligibility dice with every recruiting class. There may have been a time when academic ineligibility was only a delay to the college career of an All-America (see Penny Hardaway, 1990-91). But today's prep phenoms know college programs need them more than they need any tutelage at the NCAA level. Jackson, Jelan Kendrick, and Tarik Black (a local top-50 recruit) have their academics in order . . . we presume. And they'll make a compelling band of rookies this winter. None of them, though, should be written down for plans beyond the 2010-11 season. At least not in ink.

Tiger Nation should breathe a sigh of relief once the regret of Barton's absence loosens its grip. Unlike Derrick Rose, Barton's eligibility snag was recognized before he played his first college game. At the very least, let's make the games count.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lorenzen Wright in MEMPHIS magazine

Posted By on Wed, Aug 4, 2010 at 8:00 AM

A stat that might surprise you:

MEMPHIS magazine has been published monthly since April 1976 . . . 34 years, more than 400 issues. Only twice has a Memphis Tiger basketball player graced the magazine’s cover: Keith Lee (as a sophomore) in January 1983 and Lorenzen Wright (also as a sophomore) in February 1996.

Dennis Freeland (then the editor of the Flyer) and James Busbee collaborated on a terrific profile of Wright as he was only beginning to grasp the heights his basketball talent might reach.

On a day Wright is to be memorialized at FedExForum — his life ended far too soon — I thought it fitting to share some excerpts from this story, first published 14 very long years ago.

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• “When University of Memphis center Lorenzen Wright is on the court, you don’t go for a hot dog. You don’t slip away for a smoke. You don’t even blink. Because if you do, you’ll miss one of his bear-trap rebounds. You’ll miss one of his flyswatter blocks. Or if you’re extremely unlucky, you’ll miss The Howl.

“The Howl is Wright’s definitive statement of purpose, a two-handed tomahawk slam-dunk punctuated by a war whoop. It’s a move that comes from nowhere and brings crowds to their feet. The Howl can turn around the tempo of a game or slam the door shut on an opposing team. It’s the epitome of all the years of work that Wright and his father have put into Lorenzen’s game, and it’s too good to miss. But if you want to see it, you’d better hurry. Next year, Lorenzen Wright may well be throwing down The Howl in the NBA.”

• “In conversation, Wright is pleasant, confident, at ease. He’s had cameras and microphones in his face for years. He can spin cliches like a veteran, but he’s just as likely to come up with an insight showing that he’s not quite the slam-dunking automaton that college ballplayers are supposed to be.”

• “Herb Wright, the women’s basketball coach at Shelby State Community College, has always had a strong, guiding hand in his son’s basketball development.
‘The only hero that I ever really followed was my dad,’ Lorenzen says. ‘I still try to make my game as similar to his game as I can. . . .
‘I’ve been playing since as far as I can remember. I wasn’t what you’d call “good” when I was a kid. But I used to be out there trying my best, just shooting it up there over and over.’"

• Quoting Herb Wright, who was paralyzed from the waist down by a gun shot in 1983: “The last time I played ball [before the injury], I played like it was the last time. I played that way every time. I had no regrets. I never felt like I hadn’t given it my all. It could all end at any time, and you just want to look back and say, ‘I did my best.’ That’s what I’ve tried to teach my son.”

• Quoting Lorenzen: “I didn’t know how good I was going to be. I thought I was just going to get a couple of rebounds or something, and try to make it into the starting lineup.”

• Quoting Wright’s coach at the U of M, Larry Finch: “He’s a hard worker. You may outplay him, but you’ll never outwork him. He’s going to make you work.”

• “Ask Wright or his father about Lorenzen’s professional prospects, and they both turn uncharacteristically skittish. Lorenzen has had his dream of playing in the NBA for so long that neither man wants to jeopardize it by dwelling on it before the fact. Herb Wright still refers to Lorenzen’s pro prospects as an ‘if-and-when’ situation, adding that ‘it’s not something he needs to worry about now.’"

Among former Tigers, no player appeared in more NBA games than Lorenzen Wright’s 779. He holds the Memphis Grizzlies’ single-game record for rebounds with 26 (against Dallas at The Pyramid in 2001). Wright is one of four Tigers to reach 1,000 points before the end of his sophomore season (the others: Keith Lee, Elliot Perry, and Darius Washington).

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