Josh Pastner was thrown into the fire when he succeeded John Calipari at Memphis last year at age 31, and these days, he's in a good enough mood to get thrown into a hotel swimming pool by his players.
The Arizona Daily Star's profile on Pastner leads with this anecdote from the Tigers' preseason tour of the Bahamas:
Upon arriving, the 32-year-old former Arizona Wildcats basketball player and assistant coach noticed forward Wesley Witherspoon dart suspiciously out of the pool. Then he turned around and saw bruising forwards Will Coleman and Tarik Black coming toward him.
"He knew something was up," Witherspoon said. "So he tried to back up and he backed up into a corner."
Coleman was kind enough to check Pastner's pockets for cell phones and other non-waterproof items. He also took the coach's shoes off.
Then, he, Witherspoon and Black tossed Pastner in the hotel pool with hardly a struggle.
"Will's 6-9 and 250. I wasn't going to win that battle," Pastner said. "They picked me up and I was like, 'Let's go.' "
Certainly a trip with teenagers to a tropical island -- a different type of vacation, if you will -- lends itself to this type of horseplay, and it also reflects the good vibes surrounding the program.
In place of turbulence is an era of Tigers tranquility coming off a 24-win season and second-place finish in Conference USA.
Pastner's players are not only eligible, but appear ready to return to the NCAA tournament based on a freshman class that ESNU has ranked as the No. 4 recruiting class in the nation.
Already, they've made a big splash.