Austin Nichols, a consensus five-star power forward in the Class of 2013, signed with Memphis over Cuonzo Martin's Vols among others. He averaged 13.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.4 blocks as a sophomore last season for an 18-14 (10-8 American) Tiger team that failed to make the NCAA Tournament or the NIT.
Nichols asked for a transfer last week, which the Tigers initially denied. When Memphis eventually allowed the transfer today, as most schools always do in the face of bad PR, the Tigers excluded all future opponents from contacting him...and Tennessee, even though the Tigers refuse to play the Vols.
What’s hilarious is Memphis denied Tennessee as a possible "future" opponent. But Memphis has also said it won’t schedule Tennessee.— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) July 9, 2015
True story: Memphis initially sent Tennessee an email saying it can’t contact Austin Nichols because UT is a future opponent. Naturally …— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) July 9, 2015
… UT responded by saying, "Um, no we’re not." So Memphis sent another email saying UT is now simply on a "restricted" list. Just because.— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) July 9, 2015
This is more of the usual nonsense from the Tigers, dating back to John Calipari's anyone-anywhere-anytime-except-Tennessee-when-I'm-at-Memphis shenanigans. Josh Pastner has followed suit, even when seemingly undermined by his own administration. But so far, no deal to renew the series is on the table and nonsense like this is only pushing the Vols and Tigers further apart. The end result is empty trolling from the university president, Nichols prevented from attending a program Memphis refuses to play, and the continued absence of a great basketball rivalry the Tigers have needed just as much if not more than the Vols for the last decade, especially now. Here's hoping the next basketball coach at Memphis can face those facts.