It might be too early to ask that question. After all, Memphis freshman Jelan Kendrick is still just, you know, a freshman. There is plenty of time, both this season and in his upcoming Memphis career, for him to figure things out and make an impact on the floor. But it's safe to say that impact is not going to be felt immediately.
That became clear thanks to a report Tuesday by CBS' Gary Parrish. Parrish's report revealed that Kendrick had been indefinitely suspended by Memphis coach Josh Pastner for verbally threatening a teammate, according to multiple sources. Kendrick is still enrolled in school but is not practicing with the Tigers. Parrish also learned that Kendrick has reportedly been in "multiple altercations" with teammates, one of which led Pastner to leave Kendrick behind while the team took its preseason exhibition trip to the Bahamas. At the time, Pastner told the media that Kendrick had to return home to deal with a "personal issue."
Pastner was no more forthcoming when reached by ESPN.com news services Monday:
"It's a personal matter with him, and once that personal matter is resolved ... he will be back when that gets taken care of," Pastner said before practice. "It's just a matter of time. Whenever that personal matter gets taken care of."
Asked specifically about the report Kendrick had been suspended for fighting with teammates, Pastner dodged the question. The second-year coach said he wanted to stay consistent on what he called "the personal matter," a phrase he used five separate times when discussing Kendrick.
"I care for them as people, so right now it's a personal matter. Once that gets resolved, we'll go from there," Pastner said.
In case you guys didn't know, it's a personal matter. Just to clear that up.
Kendrick's former AAU coach told Parrish that other schools have already been calling him about a possible transfer at the end of the first semester, which is the sort of stand-up behavior you'd expect from college basketball coaches. Nice, guys. That behavior does raise an interesting question, though: If things are this bad with Kendrick already -- if he really can't get along with his teammates, to the point that he has to be suspended from practicing with them -- can a departure be all that far behind?
Too early to say. Given Kendrick's talent (he was the No. 11-ranked shooting guard in the class of 2010), you'd bet Pastner will fight hard to find a resolution and keep him on the team. Memphis has a bunch of talented incoming freshmen, sure, but Kendrick would have been a key player immediately. But if he's fighting teammates? Team building is a delicate balance between talent and character and, as of right now, it appears Kendrick is on the wrong side of that bargain.
Update: Kendrick has been vaguely discussing his suspension on Twitter. Apparently, the Memphis freshman is back in town, as he told followers he plans to see the Grizzlies-Hawks game at the FedEx Forum tonight. Yesterday, he wrote: "I will be in the fed ex forum in no time. I'm handling my bussiness growing into a man day by day that's what college is about& education." Fair enough.