Nichols makes hometown pick

Four-star Austin Nichols is off the board and he is staying close to home.

The recruitment of Austin Nichols was always going to be an intense one. With connections to nearly all of his finalists no one seemed to quite know where the Memphis (Tenn.) Briarcrest standout was leaning, but now he is off the board and staying close to home.

Josh Pastner put in a ton of work tracking Nichols all spring and summer while he was playing with M33M, and also during the high school season, and with one tweet all of that hard work paid off.

"I have committed to the University of Memphis," said Nichols.

The Tigers by landing his commitment beat out in-state rival Tennessee along with Virginia, Duke, and Auburn for his services.

Austin's father Mark Nichols went more in depth as to why the decision was made.

"We had a come to Jesus meeting and we decided that it was the best place for him," explained the elder Nichols. "He wanted to stay home. He really liked these other schools but he wanted to stay home."

Mark Nichols was also sure to single out Pastner as a key reason for the decision.

"Josh did a good job," said Nichols. "Austin will be playing with three or four or five kids that he really knows. He just felt like he fit in really well."

Also the home field advantage played a key role as did the heartstrings. Nichols always admitted to following Memphis growing up, and it proved to be huge.

"We watched Memphis all our lives. He has high interest in other schools, but after we went over everything, he just decided that he should stay home and play with the kids that he played with in AAU," Nichols explained. "He thinks they are going to be really good."

At 6-foot-9 Nichols ranks as the No. 49 player in the country, and is someone who brings a ton of versatility and a lot of effort to the floor every time out on the court. Nichols had a huge summer, and now he becomes the fifth member of the Memphis recruiting class.

Nichols joins five-star Memphis native Nick King along with four-star prospects Rashawn Powell and Kuran Iverson, and three-star Markel Crawford to make up one of the best recruiting classes in the country.

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