The last we saw Memphis freshman Jelan Kendrick, the talented youngster was reportedly trying to sort through the issues -- temperament, teamwork, and so on -- that plagued him throughout his tumultuous high school career. It looked like things were going well. A few days later, not so much: Pastner booted his prized recruit from the team, sending a message about his program in the process.
Things are a little different for Tigers now. After injuries to Wesley Witherspoon and D.J. Stephens, and the defection of little-used forward Angel Garcia to the European professional ranks, Memphis has a mere nine scholarship players available for its next game. Would Pastner consider bringing Kendrick back. And did Kendrick's tweet on Monday -- "I'm heading back to memphis!!!" -- mean, well, exactly that?
Fortunately, Memphis Commercial-Appeal beat writer Jason Smith wasted no time asking Pastner to clarify the situation. Why would Kendrick tweet such a thing? Do not obfuscate, sir! The truth is out there, and we demand answers!
"He's coming back for exams," Pastner said. "He's gotta finish out Thursday."
Oh. Well. That makes sense. Sorry about all the shouting. Nevermind, then.
The story doesn't exactly end there. Pastner said he'd been having "pleasant talks" with Kendrick in the weeks since the two parted ways and, while those talks haven't discussed any sort of return, the coach wouldn't completely close the door on the Jelan Kendrick era.
"You never say never because I don't want to do that to the young man. I don't think that's fair. Like I said, he's coming back for exams," Pastner said. "Jelan and I have had many talks since we parted ways, and very pleasant talks, but nothing about him being on the team or anything like that. It's just been more about life. He's asked me for advice on where he should go to school. What type of coach do I think is best for him. Things like that. We've had many talks, but nothing like (a return) has been broached. We have not talked about it at all."
Those talks sound very pleasant, considering they're taking place between a player and coach whose working relationship was over before it ever really began. It's a strange scenario, a player still looking to his former coach -- one that kicked him off his first college team within weeks of his arrival -- for future advice. If they two get along well enough to trust each other on that front, why couldn't they make it work in practice?
I don't know, but in any case, there's your answer. No, Kendrick is not returning to Memphis. But never say never.