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Memphis basketball welcomes all newcomers, Nick Jourdain for summer workouts

Memphis begins summer workouts this weekend. (Image Credit: Memphis Athletics)
By Roman Cleary - May 27, 2024, 9:27 pm - 1 comments

Penny Hardaway will have nearly all hands on deck for Memphis basketball’s summer workouts this year.

Sources confirm to Bluff City Media that the Tigers’ nine current scholarship players, including all seven transfer portal additions, arrived in Memphis over the weekend. Memphis begins summer workouts on June 1.

This is a stark contrast from Hardaway’s last three teams, which all experienced significant delays in forming their rosters.

Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren didn’t sign to play for Memphis’ 2021-22 squad until August 2021. The 2022-23 club signed just three players in the spring, and failed to field a full roster until August 2022.

Last season’s team, which missed the NCAA Tournament in embarrassing fashion, took this to the extreme.

Jahvon Quinerly (Memphis’ third-leading scorer) didn’t join the Tigers until late July, as did Jaykwon Walton and Jordan Brown. David Jones (Memphis’ leading scorer) didn’t arrive until late September thanks to student visa issues. Nae’Qwan Tomlin (Memphis’ second-leading scorer) signed with and joined Memphis towards the end of its non-conference schedule.

But that’s not the case this year.

Memphis’ lead guards—PJ Haggerty, Colby Rogers and Tyrese Hunter—are here. Its frontcourt—Nick Jourdain, Dain Dainja, Tyreek Smith and Moussa Cisse—is here. So are George Mason transfer guard Baraka Okojie and 4-star high school recruit Jared Harris.

Haggerty (6-foot-3) averaged 21.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game for Tulsa last year, which helped him earn the American Athletic Conference (AAC) Freshman of the Year award. Rogers (6-foot-4) scored 16.4 points per contest while shooting 40.9% from 3-point range (7.1 attempts per game) for Wichita State.

Hunter (6-foot) averaged 11.1 points and 4.1 assists for Texas in 2023-24. He also won the Big 12 Freshman of the Year award at Iowa State in 2021-22, and is 6-3 in NCAA Tournament games.

Cisse (7-foot) and Smith (6-foot-8) averaged a combined 3.1 blocks per game last year. Jourdain (6-foot-9) started 25 of 32 games for the Tigers in 2023-24, and put up 6.5 points and 4 rebounds per contest. Dainja (6-foot-9) averaged 6.1 points and 3.6 rebounds in limited minutes for an Illinois team that made the Elite Eight last season.

Hardaway has stressed the importance forming his rosters early to reporters multiple times over the past couple of years, but he’s finally made it come to fruition in 2024-25.

There is just one little problem, though.

Jones, who has another year of eligibility remaining and was Memphis’ star player last season, is not on campus yet. In fact, he may never make it if he doesn’t want to.

The 6-foot-6 forward declared for the 2024 NBA Draft on April 20, and participated in the NBA Draft Combine earlier this month.

He averaged 21.8 points (7th in Division I), 6.6 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game while shooting 45.9% from the field and 38% from 3-point range last season. Those numbers helped the Dominican Republic native become a finalist for the Julius Erving Award, which goes to the country’s best small forward, and an Associated Press (AP) All-America Honorable Mention among other various accolades.

Jones has until Wednesday at 10:59 p.m. CT to formally withdraw from the draft and return to school.


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