Former Miami wing Earl Timberlake, one of the college’s top basketball transfers this spring, has pledged to play in Memphis next season, he announced Thursday.
“I felt like I could learn a lot [coach] Penny Hardaway – everything he’s done in his career, “Timberlake told ESPN.” I like the way they defend, they are number 1 in the country. I can add that. I like how they see my game. They know I can pass and they will help me defend again the way I know I can defend and try to win a national championship. I appreciate everyone who recruited me and I will do my best in Memphis. “
Timberlake entered the season as a scheduled NBA draft pick in the first round, but had ankle and shoulder injuries throughout the season and played in just seven games.
“I’m returning home to DC this weekend and my shoulder rehabilitation begins on Monday,” said Timberlake. “I’m planning a month of rehab and I should be fine without surgery by summer. I pray everything will be fine.”
He selected Memphis from a list of schools that included Gonzaga, LSU, Providence, Georgetown, and Seton Hall, he told ESPN.
Averaging 9.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists in seven games this season, Timberlake will be looking to recapture his NBA draft and pre-college expectations.
“Penny Hardaway being a great guard in the NBA helps a lot. I think I can learn a lot,” he said. “He sees me as a versatile all-rounder who can play on and off the ball and defend several positions. He was very personable throughout the recruitment process. We grew up similarly.
The Tigers defeated Mississippi State in the NIT Championship in late March, winning 11 of their last 13 games with a young squad that didn’t include seniors in Hardaway’s third season.
Memphis is expecting some roster upheaval in the off-season as four players (Boogie Ellis, Damion Baugh, Jordan Nesbitt and D.J. Jeffries) have entered the transfer portal. Freshman Center Moussa Cisse signed up for the NBA draft but did not hire an agent.
The Hampton wing Davion Warren, who is the leading goalscorer in the Great South with 21.2 points per game, chose Memphis last week. Memphis has also signed three high school players in the ESPN Top 100: striker Josh Minot, wing John Camden and tall man Sam Ayomide. The Tigers will try to add an additional player or two through the transfer portal, a source told ESPN.
“I know some of the players have been transferred,” said Timberlake. “It doesn’t matter who is there or who is going. The players I spoke to on the squad want to win. They have an NIT championship behind them and they want to win big. They saw Baylor defend in the national championship game Has.” I think I can help them a lot on this side of the ball. They just want to win. “
Jonathan Givony is an NBA draftsman and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analysis service used by NBA, NCAA and international teams.