The University of Memphis men's basketball team is already taking shape for the 2014-15 season. Coach Josh Pastner is losing four senior guards (Joe Jackson, Geron Johnson, Chris Crawford, and Michael Dixon Jr.) but is looking to replace them with a 2014 recruiting class that features Helen Cox High standout Dominic Magee.
Magee and 17 other top high school seniors participated in the Fifth Annual Jack Jones Shootout at Lausanne Collegiate School located on 1381 W. Massey Road in Memphis, Tenn. Before Magee took the floor to participate in the Jack Jones Senior Showcase, he was busy receiving handshakes from the fans while doing interviews with local reporters.
"I want to be taught things that I never been taught," Magee said. "I think I want to major in business because I want to learn more about business in college. I just want to have fun in college, but do my work on the court and do what I've got to do to get minutes."
Before Magee's arrival to Memphis, he was already living the life of a star athlete. He's accustomed to people coming up to him for autographs and pictures, but tries not to allow the fame to throw him off of the opportunity he has in front of him.
"Not to be cocky, I been having that spotlight since I was young," Magee admitted. "That's just being blessed. Anyone that knows me knows that I am a hard worker and I be in the gym a lot. I take basketball serious and people (have) got to understand that I have a 1-year-old son and we've got to eat. I promised him that we're going to be rich one day and I can't let my son down."
The current recruiting class has received a lot of negative attention this year. Many fans and members of the local media have said that the class lacks talent and ability.
Nationally, these criticisms carry considerable weight. National pundits are convinced the incoming recruiting class will not have an impact for Memphis. ESPN and CBSSports.com do not have Memphis in their way-to-early preseason top 25 polls for next season.
Magee pays attention to the sports sites like a true fanatic. With the media not giving Memphis any respect during the offseason, he wants to play harder for his coaching staff and for the city.
"I don't care about the rankings," he said. "I don't care what people say. I know that we're going to shock the world. People are doubting us and that's good. We are going to overcome it."
Magee has already created close bonds with the returning Tiger players, namely Avery Woodson and Pookie Powell. His relationship with coach Pastner has gotten better since he committed to the U of M back in September of 2013.
"As for Josh, our relationship is amazing," he added. He just told me a few days ago he loves me. I can't wait to do whatever he wants me to do, like dive on the floor. Anything he wants, I am going to do it."
Magee mentioned how proud his parents are of his accomplishments, especially since he has a chance to go to college to earn a degree. Magee's father, Darren Turner, was in attendance at the Jack Jones Shootout to watch his son play against the other talented prospects.
Magee was on the West All-Star team, coached by Single A state champion Faragi Phillips from Mitchell and White Station's Jesus Patino. The team featured four prospects from the Memphis-area: Josh Bougher (6'4", 185, committed to Tennessee Tech) from Christian Brothers, Ladarius Coleman (6'5", 180, undecided) from White Station, Whitehaven star Marcanvis Hymon (6'7", 200, committed to Ole Miss), and Lausanne's own Joe Williams (6'6", 180, undecided).
Magee's team lost 94-87 to the East All-Stars, but he managed to finish the game with 19 points. He is equally adept at shooting the basketball from the outside or driving into the lane. He converted on a pair of three-pointers while also feasting on drives to the rim. Magee can get to the rim virtually at will and once there can score with either hand.
His father feels that his son has the tools to be a solid player at the collegiate level.
"I think the way he handles the ball is great," Turner said. "His defense is good for him to be his size. He probably put on a good 20 pounds over the past year. With his work ethic, it's like he's real dedicated. He doesn't get into trouble. If he's not at the house, he's at the gym. You can't never get mad at that."