Tiger fans upset with Pastner after Nichols release - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Tiger fans upset with Pastner after Nichols release

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

Every day, John Hardin and David Basham bring their take on sports on a radio talk show called "HardBashin," which is a good word to describe the kind of criticism Memphis Tigers head basketball coach Josh Pastner is taking in light of star forward Austin Nichols' transfer request.

The callers' criticisms range from Pastner's alleged inability to develop players, along with a growing number of high-profile transfers from the program. When Memphis signed the highly touted 2013 recruiting class, fans were excited.

Only one of the players, Markel Crawford, is left from that class. Transfers include former East High star Nick King (to Alabama), Nichols, Dom Woodson (to Tennessee, where he was eventually dismissed), one-time starting point guard Pookie Powell and Kuran Iverson (to Rhode Island).

"What Josh Pastner walked into, he had one of the best situations," said one caller, named Greg. It's a criticism that Sports 56 program director Eli Savoie feels is a reasonable one from fans.

"Many other coaches have gotten to Sweet 16s, to Elite 8s, something that Josh Pastner has struggled to do," said Savoie. "He just hasn't been able to beat good teams, that's just judging him against any other program on the type of talent he has, he should beat Top 25 teams and I think within six years have been in a Sweet 16."

Pastner's overall coaching record is impressive-- 148-58. But, his NCAA tournament record, 2-4, is not. And losing Nichols, who the U of M released from his letter of intent on Thursday, will only hurt.

"There are a lot of people that kind of blamed Austin Nichols in this situation," said Savoie. "But there's also a lot of people that go back to the whole thing of 'yes it's another kid transferring' and there are a lot of kids transferring under this head coach, there has to be a problem at the top."

And that perceived problem has fans fired up.

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