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Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Recruit: Memphis class 'better' than UK's

By Myron Medcalf

The recruiting world is governed, in part, by the gurus who assign stars and rankings to young prospects.

From an early age, the best basketball players in America are compared to one another. So as they evolve, they’re always cognizant of where they stand and where their rivals stand.

And they all covet that No. 1 slot.

I think that’s a necessary transition to a discussion about recent comments made by Memphis signee Kuran Iverson, who believes the Tigers’ recruiting class will surpass the incoming crew that John Calipari has assembled at Kentucky.

The latter has been called the greatest recruiting class in NCAA history by many seasoned scribes and analysts. It features six McDonald’s All-Americans: Julius Randle, James Young, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee.

But Iverson, who is related to Allen Iverson, is not impressed. On Sunday, he told SNY.tv that Memphis’ freshmen will be better than Kentucky’s:
We can be great,” the 6-foot-9 cousin of Allen Iverson told SNY.tv after scoring 12 points as Team Perseverance lost to Team Courage, 116-110, in the Mary Kline Senior Game on Sunday.

“Everybody talking about Kentucky hype, but there ain’t really gonna be no Kentucky hype. There’s gonna be some Memphis hype.”

Do you think you guys are better than them?

“Yeah, way better,” he said. “Way better. They talented, we work hard.”

Not just better. “Way better” than an incoming class that’s been called the best of the best.

Well, I admire his confidence. Would you expect anything less from someone who’s related to Allen “We talkin’ ’bout practice” Iverson?

Iverson, a 6-9 forward ranked 33rd in the 2013 class per RecruitingNation, also tells the site that he’d like to play point guard for the Tigers next season.

Again, he has the confidence that any coach would want a freshman to possess. And what is he supposed to say? “There’s no chance that we’ll be better than Kentucky next year.”

People would call him a pessimist if he did. But it’s difficult to envision a situation that involves Memphis’ youngsters outplaying Kentucky’s freshmen in 2013-14.

We’ve never seen anything like this.

Kentucky’s talented group will join returning players who could have been first-round picks last year (Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein). Sure, a few of the six McDonald’s All-Americans could struggle next season. But all six? Doubtful.

And there will be even more Kentucky hype as the season approaches, Mr. Iverson. A lot of it. Perhaps an unprecedented buzz.

Now, Josh Pastner has an impressive class.

Iverson, Austin Nichols and Nick King anchor a group of freshmen that’s ranked third overall by RecruitingNation behind Kentucky and Andrew Wiggins. … I mean, Kansas.

Still, I can’t see how it outperforms Kentucky’s group. Maybe I’ll be -- we’ll be -- wrong.

One thing is certain: Iverson’s comments have magnified the spotlight on Memphis’ freshmen. More for them to prove, I guess.

Good luck with that one.