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July 11, 2008Doneal Mack has been given his release by New Orleans back to Memphis and the Tigers are in receipt of it, Mack's former high school coach said.
John Jordan, who coached Mack at Statesville (N.C.) Christian, said Mack will be back on campus and in summer school at Memphis on Tuesday.
So ends a twisting saga in which Mack transferred out of John Calipari's program, ostensibly over a lack of playing time, and showed up at New Orleans after his father, Greg Mack, told the Memphis Commercial Appeal his pursuers included Wake Forest, Clemson and LSU.
Mack, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, led the Tigers in 3-pointers last season with 66. He averaged 6.9 points in 12.5 minutes per game.
He was part of a large contingent of Memphis players coached by Calipari who made a trip to China for an exhibition tour in June. He was the second-leading scorer on the trip, but within days of his return, he announced his intention to transfer.
"When he decided to transfer, he had a long talk with 'Coach Cal,' but Cal always said if he gets out there and the grass isn't greener he can come back," Jordan said. "He said he liked Doneal and didn't want to lose him.
"Doneal wanted to go somewhere where he had a better chance to be a scorer. But he got out there and it wasn't what he thought it was."
Jordan praised Calipari for his handling of the situation.
"He was great through the whole thing," Jordan said. "He let him go through the process and test the waters. Doneal is kind of like the prodigal son, and now he's back. I'm thankful for that. Right off the bat, 'Coach Cal' handled it well, and (Mack) sent the message that he probably would want to come back and that's how it worked out."
Jordan said he was curious about Mack's decision to transfer in the first place.
"I wasn't really supportive of it," he said. "I thought he had a good situation where he was, and I made that clear to him and his dad. ?
"I think part of it was they signed Tyreke Evans (Rivals.com's No. 6 prospect nationally) and another perimeter player, and I was trying to get through to Doneal that there's always going to be competition. At least he has been in the program for two years and has played significant minutes. I told him, 'The guys in front of you were NBA-level guys. You can't be scared of freshmen; you can't be scared of competition.' Now I think he's ready for that."
Bob McClellan is the college basketball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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