Memphis Magic

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Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin may have a trick up his sleeve involving some Memphis Magic. The Vols appear to have a great shot at landing a Melrose High School guard whose coach sees a little bit of Magic Johnson in him.

Currently a junior, Markel Crawford projects to be one of the state's top prospects as a senior in 2012-13.

"He's 6-5, and he can shoot it," Melrose head coach Jermaine Johnson told "He's very athletic. He can pass the ball like Magic Johnson. He's a special type player."

Crawford's best game of 2010-11 came against White Station, when he nearly posted a triple-double ... 19 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists.

"He can stroke it from NBA range," Johnson said. "He's getting better at changing tempo and he's becoming ambidextrous. He's right handed, but he's learning to use his left better. He's also one of the better defenders in the state."

Crawford visited Tennessee's campus for the LSU football weekend last month and came away so impressed that he posted a Power T on his Twitter page.

"It was great — the football game and the fan support," he said of his visit. "The fans love Tennessee."

Another highlight of his visit was spending some time at spacious Thompson-Boling Arena.

"It's beautiful," Crawford said. "We got to shoot around in it for a little while. I'd love to play there someday."

The prospect referred to Cuonzo Martin as a "great coach," adding: "He don't take a day off. He pushes players every day. There's nothing easy about their practices."

Crawford was so impressed with Tennessee's practice pace that he told his high school coach about it.

"He liked the way they worked in practice and the respect they showed for the coach," Johnson said. "He also liked the discipline."

Another positive for Tennessee: Crawford really clicked with the Vols' players during his visit.

"They're great guys," he said. "I know they love their coach and love basketball. They've got a great relationship with Coach Martin and Coach (Jon) Harris."

Crawford described himself as a long, defensive-minded player who "can shoot, pass, defend, rebound. I'm an unselfish player."

Picking up where he left off last season, he said he put up 19 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists last Friday against Craigmont High.

As soon as his schedule permits, he'd like to make another unofficial visit to the Tennessee campus.

"I hope to get up there for a basketball game — hopefully an SEC game — real soon," he said.

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