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THE FINEST RESTAURANTS OF DOWNTOWN, MIDTOWN AND EAST MEMPHIS
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FALL ED ITION | 20 10 VOL UME IV
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3PORTS FALL 2010
AT MCEWENâ€™S ON MONROE
for the love of
game BY HOLLY WHITFIELD | PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOEY MILLER
It’s not the only game in town, but basketball incites the passion and competitive spirit of Memphians like none other. Without a doubt,
MEMPHIS IS A BASKETBALL TOWN.
repurposed room in the Administration Building, floor markings that designated a “court”, and six inches of breathing room between out-of-bounds and the walls: these were the qualities of the first home court for University of Memphis basketball. The team, then representing the West Tennessee State Normal School, formed in 1920 and early fans paid fifty cents to see their Tigers play teams like the local YMCA and UT Martin Junior College in the small space known as the “Normal Cage.” Compare the early courts to today’s FexEd Forum—a state of the art arena that is home to both the University of Memphis Tigers and the Memphis Grizzlies NBA team and can hold over 18, 000 cheering students, Memphians, and visitors to the Bluff City. Through years of evolving university names, coaches who come and go, star players who lead winning seasons and times where victory escapes our city’s teams, the fans remain a constant reason that Memphis can arguably be called a basketball town, both on a collegiate and a professional level. Recently, Tigers coach Josh Pastner and Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins met up to discuss the Memphis basketball scene while having lunch at one of downtown’s best eateries—McEwen’s on Monroe.
GRIZZLIES COACH JOSH PASTNER AND TIGERS COACH LIONEL HOLLINS TALK MEMPHIS HOOPS AT MCEWEN’S ON MONROE. 12
“Memphis gets players from around the world; we’re an international team with world-class players” - LIONEL HOLLINS
“MEMPHIS IS A GREAT PLACE TO EAT, buT If yOu DON’T ExERCISE, THEN yOu’RE IN TROubLE,” -JOSH PASTNER
“I hear fans who never stop calling into radio sports shows, and all they want to talk about are the Grizzlies or the Tigers,” explains Coach Hollins. As coach to the only professional sports team of the city, Hollins is often recognized around town, a fact that humbles and inspires him. “The FedEx Forum houses two teams that Memphis loves to love, “ he continues. Speaking to the decades of history that make up the Memphis Tigers basketball program, young coach Pastner has come to understand that “Memphis basketball was good before me, and it will be good after I’m gone.” The main topic of conversation at the coaches’ meeting, besides the food, was the upcoming season. Coach Pastner has been heavily recruiting through the summer, while Coach Hollins has been through the NBA Draft and summer leagues in preparation for an upcoming season with new players and new expectations. “Of course, Coach Cal had a good run,” Coach Pastner commented on his predecessor, John Calipari. Pastner
is about to begin his second season as head coach, and knows the size of the shoes he wants to fill. However, he wisely explains that “[Tigers basketball is] not only about the coach.” He wants Memphis as a city to have more ownership of their team, and has followed through with his idea to recruit more local players. “Pound for pound, Memphis high school basketball is as good as anywhere in the country,” he offers. His words are supported by the fact that several 2010-2011 Tiger freshmen hail from the Memphis area. These new recruits have a lot to offer the team in terms of roster depth and will continue to build on Pastner ‘s staff’s first year. The head coach is proud of his inaugural season’s humble success, which he defines as having had “no slippage” in terms of the quality of the program and recruiting efforts. Coach Hollins has also taken his team’s home city into consideration when choosing from world-class players. “We want players that fans can relate to and rally
around,” he says, referring to the Memphis franchise’s current focus on NBA players who have the character and work ethic to back up their skills. While talent and results are essential, Hollins explains that “you can’t discount character. You want someone who you know will bring a positive experience.” “Memphis gets players from around the world; we’re an international team with world-class players,” he continues with a bright smile. His work ethic and pride is evident despite the tumultuous world of professional sports, and likely stems from his own background as a champion basketball player. “[The Grizzlies] always compete regardless of winning, losing, or what is happening in the media, “ he reveals. Having an NBA team in the city is an asset that is lost on neither coach. “Being a young guy in the business and a huge NBA fan, we have an unbelievable benefit having a pro team here,” Coach Pastner shares. Hollins continues, saying that going to an NBA game is “something different from normal. Besides the game play, we have the entertainment of the whole arena. The action never stops, even during time-outs.” For those visiting the city, Pastner and Hollins share that Memphis has much to offer in terms of food, attractions and history. Coach Hollins brings players from out of town to the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, which commemorates the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement in the United States. “It’s inspiring to visit a place that commemorates a movement and a leader that changed the world,” Coach Pastner affirms. After a visit to the Civil Rights Museum, an exciting night at the FedEx Form watching the Grizzlies or the Tigers play in front of local and out-of-town fans, Coach Hollins suggests visiting a local restaurant for dinner. He enjoys the locally owned eateries for the variety, because he has to travel so much and often eats in chain restaurants on the road. Coach Pastner’s schedule has been just as hectic and he explains over this rare sit-down meal that take-out has been the dining option lately, but that he loves to eat. “Memphis is a great place to eat, but if you don’t exercise, then you’re in trouble,” Pastner laughs. The coaches can expect plenty of exercise soon enough with excitement already building for 2010-2011 seasons.
AfTER LuNCH, THE TWO COACHES STICK AROuND TO DISCuSS THEIR SHARED HOME COuRT--THE fEDEx fORuM JuST AROuND THE CORNER.
Josh Pastner got his start in the game of basketball at a young age in
Born in Kansas, Lionel Hollins has travelled the country playing and
Kingwood, TX (near Houston) and was a prodigy when it came to judging
coaching basketball for the last forty years. He was the 6th overall pick of
talent and recruiting strategies in high school and college hoops. He
the 1975 NBA Draft and went to the Portland Trail Blazers from Arizona State
was a walk-on member of the University of Arizona 1997 NCAA National
University. He played in the NBA for ten years and was selected to the NBA
Championship team and in 2002 became an Assistant Coach under Arizona
All-Rookie team in 1975 and the NBA All-Star team in 1977. The Blazers retired
legend Head Coach Lute Olsen. In 2008, Pastner came to
his #14 jersey in 2007. After his solid career as a player, Hollins
Memphis to establish himself as recruiting coordinator
began his coaching career. The Vancouver Grizzlies were
and assistant coach under John Calipari and a team that
part of the NBA’s Canada expansion program in 1995, and
went all the way to the NCAA Sweet 16.
moved to Memphis in 2001.
In April of 2009, he became the Memphis Tiger head coach after Calipari’s departure. He overcame roster and
Hollins was named the Grizzlies interim head coach in the 1999-2000 season in Canada, and followed the program on
staffing adversities to be named C-USA Head Coach of the Year with a 24-10
its move to Memphis, again serving as interim head coach in 2004. In 2009 he
record. His top-ranked 2010 recruiting class is testament to his belief in
was named the Grizzlies official head coach. Coach Hollins offers experience
the Memphis brand, his commitment to recruiting, and the possibility of an
and consistency that the Grizzlies have used to secure world-class players and
explosive 2010-2011 season for Tigers basketball.
an inspiring future for the Memphis NBA franchise.
HOLLINS AND PASTNER TAKE ADvANTAGE Of A bREAK IN THEIR buSy SuMMER SCHEDuLES TO ENJOy SOME SCRuMPTIOuS TOSADAS AND fISH TACOS IN MCEWEN’S WINE CELLAR.
Our chefs are also
ThE PIG ON BEAlE ChEf
John Wheeler PAPA PIA’S ChEf
MESqUITE ChOP hOUSE ChEf
Company owned Woodland Farms provides the ingredients for all River City Management restaurants. From our own organically grown produce to honey from our very own hives, our chefs help cultivate everything that goes into our signature dishes.
Spindini • Mesquite Chop House • PaPa Pia’s • The Pig On Beale MANAGED BY RIVER CITY MANAGEMENT GROUP
168 beale street, memphis, tennessee, 38103 • 901.525.3891