Thursday, November 12, 2009
Updated: November 14, 4:16 PM ET
Pastner, Tigers add elite guard
ESPN.com news services
In the first full recruiting cycle following John Calipari's departure, Josh Pastner and the Memphis Tigers are picking up where the departed coach left off.
On Friday, the Tigers signed shooting guard Will Barton (Baltimore/Brewster Academy), the nation's No. 5 prospect. Barton had been committed to the Tigers since the summer, but made it official by signing a national letter of intent.
Barton is the headliner of a Tigers class that is among the nation's finest. The group also includes Barton's brother, Antonio, (Baltimore/Notre Dame Prep); ESPNU 100 point guard Joe Jackson (Memphis/White Station); shooting guard Chris Crawford (Memphis/Sheffield); and 6-foot-8 forward Hippolyte Tsafack (Charlottesville, Va./The Miller School) who committed earlier this week.
According to ESPN Scouts Inc., Barton is a pure scorer who can put the ball in the basket virtually every way. He finishes tremendously well above the rim with wiry strength and incredible body control, has a well-developed mid-range game, and can elevate for his pull-up with great consistency.
Pastner had much praise for his prized recruit.
"One of the words I use when talking about Will is relentless," he said. "Will plays hard all the time. He is a tremendous rebounder. Will fits in so well with this class because, like all the others, he gives all-out effort all the time. He competes and loves to win. Will is a high, high energy guy."
Barton averaged 18 points, 10 rebounds and four assists last season at Baltimore high school powerhouse Lake Clifton. He will play his final prep season at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire.