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VOL. 129 | NO. 23 | Tuesday, February 04, 2014

'Old Man's Knee' May Bench Tigers' Pellom

By Don Wade

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University of Memphis forward David Pellom did not play Saturday, Feb. 1, at SMU because of a sore left knee. He did not practice Monday because of the knee, and Tigers coach Josh Pastner called Pellom “questionable” for the Tuesday, Feb. 4, game at FedExForum against Rutgers.

Moreover, Pastner said he does not expect Pellom to practice the remainder of the season.

“I would highly doubt it,” Pastner said of Pellom, a senior transfer from George Washington. “He’s got old man’s knee.”

Pellom has had multiple knee surgeries and missed time earlier the season with an arthroscopic procedure on the knee. But when he has played, he has hardly looked like a player with an old man’s knee.

“He would have made a big difference,” guard Joe Jackson said of Pellom’s possible impact at SMU, where the Tigers saw a 29-29 tie at halftime degenerate into an 87-72 loss in which post players Shaq Goodwin, Austin Nichols and Dominic Woodson were of little help offensively or defensively. “We needed more activity in the paint – not scoring, energy-wise.”

Pellom is averaging 5.5 points and 3.6 rebounds in 16.1 minutes through 17 games. But his value goes beyond that for the Tigers, who, despite falling to 16-5 (6-3 in the American Athletic Conference), stayed in the AP Top 25 at No. 24.

“He knows how to make plays and mix things up on the court,” Jackson said.

“He’s got a good basketball IQ,” Pastner added.

Goodwin, a sophomore, had just six points and two rebounds in 33 minutes at SMU. Nichols, a freshman, grabbed four rebounds with two points in 17 minutes. Woodson, also a freshman, had 11 rebounds in 18 minutes but made just 1 of 6 shots for two points. Goodwin had two blocks, but otherwise the post players were pretty ineffective defensively.

Pastner rejected the notion that the “bigs” could stand to be a little meaner.

“People’s personalities are their personalities,” the coach said. “Mean isn’t the right word. It’s being aggressive. And we’ve got to do a better job of getting them the ball early, help them be engaged throughout the game.”

Rutgers is 9-13, 3-6. The game tips off at 6 p.m.

“I’ve watched a lot of film,” Jackson said. “They’re not gonna just be an easy blowout. You gotta beat them. They’re not gonna just lay down.”

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