In a move that would make the SEC (the financial one) proud, the NCAA announced late this afternoon that Memphis recruit Will Barton had been cleared to play for the Tigers. This comes just two weeks after the same body declared Barton academically ineligible for the upcoming season after questioning his high school grades, a decision which Barton appealed. While we are happy for Barton, we can’t help but think that the person who had the second most at stake in this decision was second year Memphis coach Josh Pastner who had taken over for John Calipari following the latter’s decision to bolt for greener pastures at Kentucky. The latter left behind a mess of allegations involving Derrick Rose, resulting in the erasure of one of the greatest seasons ever (statistically); Pastner then had to deal with allegations against himself, as well, before being hit with the possibility that he might not have three of his players (Barton, Hippolyte Tsafack and Chris Crawford) eligible for this season.
The addition of Barton, a top 10 recruit in by almost any service (including our own Zach Hayes), will add a measure of scoring explosiveness that the Tigers have missed in the past two seasons following the departure of Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts. Whether or not that scoring translates into more post-season success remains to be seen.