MEMPHIS — Roburt Sallie said Sunday he wanted to make his college decision quickly. Apparently, he meant it.
Before leaving town this afternoon, Sallie went ahead and gave a commitment to Memphis coach John Calipari and canceled his upcoming visit to Kentucky.
“I saw what I needed to see,” Sallie said Monday. “It’s a done deal. I’m ready to get rolling now and try to do some special things here. Cal is very, very special. He’s one of a kind. He cares about his players. Every guy I spoke to who is a former player just said Cal will look after you after you’re done. That’s something big with me. This is bigger than basketball. It makes you play harder, and Memphis is a great community. I love Memphis. You guys support basketball. It’s unreal up here.”
Sallie, a 6-foot-5 guard from City College of San Francisco, gives the Tigers another talented backcourt player who could compete immediately for a starting position. He was the California junior college player of the year and should fit in nicely with Antonio Anderson and Robert Dozier, both former teammates at Laurinburg Prep in North Carolina.
The Tigers recruited Sallie initially in 2006, but he chose Nebraska. He was set to re-enroll at Nebraska this summer but was not allowed to due to a Big 12 rule technicality.
Sallie was supposed to take a visit to Kentucky next week, but that visit is apparently canceled now. It’s almost an exact reversal of a recruiting situation from last summer, when Kentucky got point guard DeAndre Liggins to commit during a campus visit right before he was scheduled to look at Memphis.
Sallie will have two years of eligibility remaining.
“He was blown away, absolutely blown away (by the visit),” said John Parker, his prep school coach. “Obviously, coach Calipari, his charisma, his track record of putting guys in the NBA, just winning. Rob’s a winner. Of all the kids that I’ve ever coached in prep school, he’s the most competitive and the most complete player I ever coached. He is an absolute winner … he’s going to come in and fit in and he’s just got that swagger, that ‘it.’ The city of Memphis will be blown away by this kid.”