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The Week in Review

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It’s not about just NBA and college basketball in Memphis. We have some major talent in the Shelby County metro area, evident in the schools that are playing this season, and a number of them (boys and girls) ranked in the top 10 in the state. (Side note: It is a shame that the Shelby County Schools are not having their winter season in any sport.)

There seems to be a revolving door in the Memphis Tigers’ football program. Kenneth Gainwell announced he will be entering the NFL draft (expected); Calvin Austin III is returning (which had been hoped for); some players entering the transfer portal, and some being picked up out of the portal. The movements likely will continue.

Memphis basketball? A brutal slog of a return after three weeks off (thanks to the opponents’ COVID-19 issues).

Ja Morant magically appeared in the starting lineup Jan. 16, much to the joy of the Grizzlies and their fans. He clearly is a strong-willed player (returning after 18 days, when the ankle sprain recovery schedule was three to five weeks), but the team’s physical therapy staff must be congratulated. Give them a raise.

OK, Tigers fans will be allowed back at FedExForum (20% capacity) beginning Jan. 21, a Thursday night game against Wichita State. You know why?

Because people are wearing their masks.  

Keep it up, because we also want to get into the arena for Grizzlies games (they haven’t announced anything yet).

Wear those masks!

 
 
Tigers fans allowed back in FedExForum on Thursday
 

Grizzlies have not announced if they will do the same.

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Calkins: A Tiger loss, a Tiger death, and why hope is the only answer
 

Phinehas Johnson was one of the biggest, most upbeat Memphis Tigers fans in the universe. He died last week. In the wake of yet another discouraging loss, can he teach us something about how to persevere?

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A few more fans allowed at Tennessee high school basketball games
 

Governor’s new executive order also applies to wrestling matches.

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Calkins: Silverfield adds another impact transfer (this one will lick his face)
 

Memphis coach Ryan Silverfield added a transfer this week with excellent quickness and a low center of gravity. Happily, it’s a dog.

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Grizzlies win fifth straight with victory over Suns
 

Grayson Allen and Ja Morant came up clutch inside the final minute to seal the win in a nationally televised game. 

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Calkins: Ja Morant and 'a bunch of hoopers' save a special day
 

It would have been sweeter if 18,000 Memphians had been jammed into FedExForum. But Ja Morant made sure this MLK Day game ended with a win. 

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Memphis RB Kenneth Gainwell says he's entering NFL draft
 

Gainwell is projected as a top-five running back prospect in the April 29-May 1, 2021 draft.

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Memphis falls victim to Tulsa comeback — again
 

Season-high 21 turnovers and missed chances sink Tigers in 58-57 loss. Related articles:  New Year, same Tigers: Memphis’ struggles persist and Box score: Tulsa 58, Memphis 57

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Positive vibes: Ja Morant sees Grizzlies' growth during his absence
 

Morant, frustrated by his ankle injury, was buoyed by his teammates and their play.

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Grizzlies hold on to beat 76ers in Ja Morant's return
 

Morant looked to be in good form with 17 points and six assists after 18 days out of action with an ankle sprain.

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Calkins: Titans' OC Arthur Smith got where he is the Memphis way — with grit and grind
 

If you see some of the old Memphis Grizzlies in the Tennessee Titans, that's not an accident. The offensive coordinator is native Memphian Arthur Smith. 

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Memphis DB T.J. Carter enters transfer portal
 

A key defensive player, Carter is the second big name to leave the Tigers within the past week.

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