Steve Smith: "I've gotten to know Jack Murphy really well. I've known Josh since — I had a kid, Stephen Jackson, who plays in the NBA … he and Josh are really close. Josh coached him when he was like 16-years-old. Even though they were like the same age, he was the coach of the AAU team. I knew Josh since he was that young. He came to work a Nike camp, and at that time he wasn't one of the staff guys. He would just stay there volunteering. I've known Josh forever. Hard worker, great guy.
"I just got to know Jack the past year from him visiting campus and him recruiting our guys."
One of the main reasons Josh Pastner was hired at Memphis two years ago was because of his documented success in recruiting. What's he like as a recruiter, in your experience?
Smith: "They're diligent. They're very diligent. They get after it.
"The first year he got the job, he called me. He was in Atlanta. It was the first of September, 9th or 10th. He called me, it was like 10 o'clock at night, and asked if he could eat breakfast with Roscoe Smith [who ultimately signed with Connecticut]. Well, he's in Atlanta. It's 10 o'clock. He goes, ‘I'm getting in the car right now.'
"So he drove from Atlanta from Mouth of Wilson, which is six hours. He got to school at like six in the morning. He met Roscoe Smith and ate breakfast with him. Then he left from our place and was going to the Miller School, which is about four hours more. He's not flying around on a private plane. That trip, he was in a car the whole time. No shower. Guy comes in there, his hair's ruffled. … He's a go-getter. He knows that's the lifeline of the program."
Is that normal to you? Working like that as a head coach? Is he one of the harder-working college coaches you've been around?
Smith: "It seems like he's recruiting now just like he did when he was an assistant. Most head coaches don't do that. They're going to be selective. They're going to go out, but not like that. He would put in more time than most head coaches."