We reached out across enemy lines to Jonah Jordan of Go Tigers 247 to get their take on this year’s Bartow Classic.
Most UAB fans are up to speed on the drama that went on at Memphis in the off-season that led to nearly half the roster transferring. What have you seen from your team early on in this season that gives you hope that they can bounce back from losing some great players and potentially have a great season?
I’ve seen the ability to push the pace and flashes of great defense, but they have lacked consistency and an identity. Junior college transfers and freshmen are still adjusting to the speed of the game and the nuances that come with playing D1 basketball. Once they get adjusted things will be better and they’ll be able to establish an identity.
You know I’m going to ask about Jamal Johnson. How has his game looked early in his career and do you think he can become a starter-type player for Memphis this season?
I think Jamal Johnson has the potential to be Memphis’ best wing player this season. He’s had to get over some freshman jitters, but he was great against Northern Kentucky. If he keeps developing as a 3-and-D prospect Memphis fans are going to love him.
UAB’s roster is much less of a mystery and I’m sure you know we like to lean on our senior front court of William Lee and Chris Cokley. How do you think Memphis’ front court will fare against UAB and what areas do you think the Tigers might have an advantage?
I think UAB has the complete advantage in the front court. Kyvon Davenport and Jimario Rivers have been solid, but they aren’t getting much rebounding or rim protection from the center position. If they go small with Rivers and Davenport they have to go to a zone and push off of missed shots. They can get easier shots that way. That may be their advantage.
You and I are of the younger UAB and Memphis generation but we still are very aware of this rivalries long and storied history. Do you think this current Tiger squad will be fueled by the story lines or do you think this will be just another game?
I don’t think it does for this Memphis team. They are all new players and the rivalry has been somewhat dormant.
From the Memphis side of the local media does this game tip the fan interest scale like is used to?
I think Memphis fans are at a point where they will be more motivated when they start winning again.