When Tarik Black faxed his paperwork over to the office on Monday afternoon it was like trading in the Porsche for the Lamborghini with the doors that open skyward. Pastner owns the keys to a powerful machine fueled by seven signees in a run of quantity, quality, depth and star power.
The Memphis tank had run out of gas following John Calipari's departure. Elliot Williams transferred back home and was granted clemency by the NCAA to be closer to a sick relative. That was good news, but the reality was the roster was thin.
Then, Will Barton opened the floodgates and gave Pastner's program a bit of swagger on the street. What happened next was fueled by proximity and playing time. The Tigers run the town of Memphis, had court time and sold their recruits on winning together.
On Sept. 11, Joe Jackson committed and that essentially gave Pastner the keys to the city and the ability to run the town's players. Williams was joined by Jackson and less than a month later, another Memphian, shooter Chris Crawford was on board.
Here's the kicker: Crawford and Jackson played together in the spring with the Memphis Magic team. Last summer, they added a piece to their championship puzzle. The piece was Kendrick, the do-it-all wing from Georgia. Together, behind MVP Jackson, they won the adidas Super 64.
In reality, this entire class is a series of connection. Will Barton's brother Antonio Barton, signed and will be a backup point guard. Black, Crawford and Jackson are from the same city. The lone guy that seems to lack a natural connection is Hippolyte Tsafack. However, he's firmly entrenched in the lore and legend of this group.
On the first day of the signing period, Tsafack got the madness started. He signed on Nov. 11 in the afternoon. Two days later Kendrick pledged and then the final piece fell into place via Black's letter on intent five days later on the 16th.
Recruiting is all about momentum. When the previous coach split for Kentucky, an NCAA investigation surrounding Derrick Rose was next adding up to a nightmare scenario for a first-year head coach. Then, momentum began swinging in Pastner's direction. Since September, he's added five new players, two of them five-stars and all of them good additions.
Pastner went from possibly vacating wins to signing the nation's No. 2 class before the start of the period. However, he's got to vacate the second spot. This time, Memphis is adding a title: the nation's best recruiting class and moving up a position.
Nobody saw it coming, few thought it can be done and now it's been achieved. First year head coach Josh Pastner just signed Conference USA's fourth Top 100 player and they're all going to Memphis.