Former Melrose G Chris Jones’ Tragic Situation A Reminder of Pastner’s Value

According to multiple news outlets, former Melrose High School & Louisville Cardinal G Chris Jones has been charged with raping one woman, and sodomizing another. Jones was a starter and key member of Rick Pitino’s Louisville team this season, but had been permanently dismissed from the squad earlier this week.

Obviously, if the charges have any merit, it’s a tragic situation for the victims and their families.

And nobody envies Chris Jones right now either – it appears the young man has done some things in the past week that could permanently alter other people’s lives for the worse and destroy what appeared to be a bright future.

Memphians root for Memphis kids – and this is a terrible situation for a Memphis kid – whether the charges prove to be true or not.

It’s an awful situation all around.

And it also re-emphasizes some things that have been written lately about Josh Pastner.

Critics of Pastner have pointed specifically to Jones as a kid that was better off getting away from the Memphis program. That argument seems dubious today, if not flat out wrong.

Remember that Pastner, running a program heavily built on Memphis kids, has yet to see a single player arrested (even for a minor offense) in over 6 years as head coach of the Tigers.

As recently as a few days ago, Geoff Calkins wrote about the value of Pastner’s high standards for player conduct.

A few weeks ago, I interviewed Pastner and concluded that any talk of firing him right now was off base. 

Like it or not, these coaches are leaders of young men. That’s part of their job.

Critics of Pastner, myself included, have pointed out that he has struggled to develop players. That specific argument has more to do with basketball related development, than moral or character development – but don’t they go hand in hand to some degree?

Critics of Pastner have pointed to Jones as a kid that needed to escape Memphis to succeed.
Critics of Pastner have pointed to Jones as a kid that needed to escape Memphis to succeed.

They do when tragic developments like the Chris Jones allegations unfold.

On the flip side of that coin – Memphis products Austin Nichols, Nick King, and Markel Crawford are going for their 4th consecutive win in a very meaningful game against SMU tonight at 8pm on ESPN2. Nichols and Crawford, especially, are having very good years. King has been up and down.

By all accounts, King, Crawford and Nichols are young men that the City of Memphis can be proud of.

This morning we got a reminder that perhaps there’s more value in Pastner’s approach than some, including myself at times, want to admit.