Simpson shines in Memphis debut

Stan Simpson

The way Tarik Black sees it, if Stan Simpson strings together a few more performances like the one he put on against LeMoyne-Owen, his counterpart won't be coming off the bench.

The way Tarik Black sees it, if Stan Simpson strings together a few more performances like the one he put on against LeMoyne-Owen, his counterpart won't be coming off the bench.

"I'm not a selfish guy. Me and him play the same position, but if he ends up starting or not, I just want to see him perform every game," Black said after Memphis' 119-67 win against the Magicians Wednesday night at FedExForum.

Simpson, a 6-foot-10 junior college transfer, scored 14 points in 18 minutes and pulled down seven rebounds in his debut for the Tigers. He was active defensively, often altering shot attempts with his length.

He also showed off a smooth offensive repertoire, scoring the first two points of his Memphis career with a turnaround jumper on the block.

"It felt really good playing in front of Memphis for the first time," Simpson said.

The main knock on Simpson, who spent two years at Illinois before electing to go the junior college route, is his consistency. While Simpson is skilled offensively, he can disappear at times and his intensity tends to fluctuate throughout the course of a game.

Still, it was encouraging for Memphis coach Josh Pastner that Simpson more-than-adequately spelled a struggling Black, who had more turnovers (three) than points (two).

"I felt that Stan could help us if he played hard, which he did tonight," Pastner said. "He gave us some good minutes. We need that production out of him every night."

It would be a huge asset for Pastner and the Tigers, especially against the more talented teams the Tigers will face this year, if Simpson can consistently step in for Black, who showed last season that he can be foul-prone.

"I love that Stan did a real good job," Black said. "If he sees more minutes when the season breaks down, you never know what his stats will look like. That's what I like seeing, that I'll have a big man with me for another year that will help me."

Simpson's other teammates were impressed with his efficiency against the Magicians, especially considering Simpson missed the first week of team workouts in August because of a holdup with his summer school transcripts.

"He came in and adjusted perfectly," sophomore guard Antonio Barton said. "He was awesome. Blocked shots, rebounding. His low-post production — he can shoot it from beyond the paint and everything. Stan looked good tonight."

Simpson said he felt like he took the first step Wednesday night in solidifying his spot in the Tigers' rotation.

"I know I can get better and do better things to help the team out in future games," Simpson said. "It feels good to know that I'm a part of a good team and contributing right away."

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