If you haven’t noticed – and judging by their number of YouTube views you haven’t – the American Athletic Conference’s Digital Network has been putting out some pretty slick videos every week during the football and basketball seasons.
The weekly AAC show is called The Rise and it’s hosted by a woman named Hali Oughton.
Lost amid the disappointing Memphis basketball season thus far – is that the AAC has turned out to be a competitive and interesting basketball league. It should be an exciting stretch run over the next 5 weeks.
CUSA transplant Tulsa sits atop the league standings at 9-0, just above pre-season favorite SMU (9-1). Cincinnati, Temple and Memphis are all tied in the next slot at 6-3. If the season ended today, all 5 would earn byes in the AAC tournament – which in reality starts next month in Hartford, CT.
The Huskies? The defending national champs sit in 6th place at 4-4. Crazy.
Anyhow – a few weeks ago, The Rise featured Memphis sophomore and pre-season all AAC forward Austin Nichols. The interview appears to have been filmed at the pre-season media day – but it’s nevertheless a good look at Nichols, who has emerged as the best pro-prospect on Memphis’ roster.
Nichols is averaging 13 pts, 6 rebs per game so far this season. He is 7th nationally in blocks per game at 3.05 per contest.
Nichols, as you would expect, has nice things to say about playing for his hometown. A few years back, Nichols chose Memphis over Duke, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Virginia and Auburn:
“Growing up – born and raised in Memphis, actually it’s great, its an honor and blessing to be playing for the city. With such a rich basketball history, I’m just hoping I can kind of add on to that.”
If he’s going to add to that history this year, he’s going to have to do it by leading his team to an improbable finish to the season. Otherwise, Memphis is likely to miss the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 2009-2010 season.
In any event, here’s the Nichols interview: