Hall ready to make Memphis mark

The last time anybody in Memphis saw Ferrokahn Hall play in a competitive basketball game, he was a senior at White Station High School and on his way to play in college at Seton Hall.

The last time anybody in Memphis saw Ferrakohn Hall play in a competitive basketball game, he was a senior at White Station High School and on his way to play in college at Seton Hall.

After spending a season and a half in New Jersey, Hall opted to transfer back home last December when his former coach Bobby Gonzales was fired.

Per NCAA transfer rules, Hall was forced to sit out a calendar year. This Saturday, he makes his Memphis debut on arguably one of the biggest regular season stages the Tigers have recently been a part of against No. 4 Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center.

The last time the Tigers and Cardinals met, then-freshman guard Darius Washington infamously missed two of three free-throws with no time remaining in the Conference USA tournament championship that would've given the Tigers the win and an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.

"It's definitely a big deal to a lot of people here, especially the old Memphis basketball fans," Hall said. "I look at it as one of the biggest basketball games I'll ever play in."

The matchup Saturday, however, likely lost most of its luster last Sunday when the Tigers dropped a home contest to unranked Murray State, 76-72.

Even though Memphis fell out of the Top 25 this week, the Tigers have a golden opportunity to turn matters around against the undefeated but injury-ridden Cardinals, and Hall figures to play a part in taking advantage of that.

Just don't expect a superhero-like performance.

"I'm not expecting to come in and score 30 points or grab 20 rebounds," Hall said. "I just want to do as much as I can, because it's my first game back. I'm not expecting to take everybody by storm. I just want to come in and produce."

The biggest area Hall can help contribute is, obviously, in rebounding. While the Tigers have improved on the boards in the last three games, they still rank 206th in the country, pulling down just 34.8 rebounds per game.

Louisville ranks in the top 20 in rebounding with 40.9 per game.

"Ferrakohn can help in a lot of ways," said sophomore guard Will Barton, who leads the team in scoring (20.4 points per game) and rebounding (7.6 per game). "He's very versatile. He can get rebounds. He's tough, he's physical, he can score."

Hall said his game has changed dramatically since he was in high school. Hall won a state championship his senior season and was more of a finesse player than a banger in the low post.

With a season-and-a-half of Big East basketball under his belt, the 6-foot-9 junior has seen his strength and midrange jumper improve significantly.

"I know people in Memphis are used to me trying to do things I wasn't necessarily supposed to be trying to do," Hall said. "I was trying to feel out my game. Everybody does that growing up. Now, I kinda have a feel for my game. … I've got a better understanding for the game."

While Hall will almost certainly be a shot in the arm for a Memphis team that has struggled defensively, Memphis coach Josh Pastner said it's unlikely to think he'll play extended minutes or set the world on fire.

"Ferrakohn will help us," Pastner said. "He's not gonna be Superman. He's gonna come in, fill a role. I think he brings toughness. He's hard-nosed. He's gonna rebound the ball. He's gonna help. He's not only gonna help for this game Saturday but also for the long haul."

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