Former Miami winger Earl Timberlake, one of the best university basketball transfers this spring, has pledged to play in Memphis next season, he told ESPN on Thursday.
“I felt like I could learn a lot from that [coach] Penny Hardaway – everything he’s done in his career, “Timberlake said.” I like the way they defend, they have defense in the first place in the country. I can add to that. I like how they see my game. They know I can get through and they will help me get back into defense the way I know I can defend and try to win the state championship. I appreciate everything they recruited me for and I will do my best in Memphis. “
Timberlake entered the season as an anticipated NBA draft pick in the first round, but spent the entire season dealing with ankle and shoulder injuries and playing in just seven games.
“I’m coming home to DC this weekend, and shoulder rehabilitation starts on Monday,” Timberlake said. “I’m looking at a month of rehab and by the summer I should be fine without surgery. I’m praying everything goes well.”
He selected Memphis from a list of schools that included Gonzaga, LSU, Providence, Georgetown and Seton Hall, he told ESPN.
Timberlake has averaged 9.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists in seven games this season, and will strive to regain NBA drafts and pre-college expectations.
“Penny Hardaway, the big guard in the NBA helps a lot. I feel I can learn a lot,” he said. “He sees me as a versatile player who can do everything he can to play on and off the ball and guard multiple positions. He was very likeable during the recruiting process. We grew up similarly. I can connect with him quite a bit.”
The Tigers beat Mississippi State in the NIT Championship in late March, winning 11 of their last 13 games with a young roster who had no seniors in Hardaway’s third season.
Memphis expects to experience a significant turnaround in the offseason with four players (Boogie Ellis, Damion Baugh, Jordan Nesbitt and DJ Jeffries) entering the transfer portal. Freshman center Moussa Cisse applied for the NBA draft but did not hire an agent.
Hampton winger Davion Warren, the leading scorer in the Big South with 21.2 points per game, dedicated himself to Memphis last week. Memphis also has three high schoolers who have qualified for the ESPN 100: striker Josh Minot, winger John Camden and big man Sam Ayomide. The Tigers will try to add one or two more players via the transfer portal, a source told ESPN.
“I know some of the players have crossed over,” Timberlake said. “It doesn’t matter who’s there and who’s leaving. The players I talked to on the roster want to win. They come from the NIT Championship and they want big wins. They saw Baylor defend in the national championship game. I think I can help them a lot in that. side of the ball. They just want to win. “
Jonathan Givony is an NBA blueprint expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private reconnaissance and analytics service used by the NBA, NCAA and international teams.