Once you’re a cat, you’re always a cat — even if the type of cat has changed.
Tigers’ head coach Josh Pastner announced on Monday that he’s recommended Luke Walton to join his staff at the University of Memphis as an assistant coach.
Walton, a small forward with the Los Angeles Lakers, certainly has extra time these days with the NBA mired in what appears to be an extended lockout.
Walton would reunite with Pastner, his University of Arizona teammate during the 1999-2000 season.
Pastner also coached Walton as a graduate assistant and eventually an assistant coach with the Wildcats.
The hire is contingent upon the approval of the University of Memphis and Tennessee State Board of Regents.
Walton still has two years left on his contract with the Lakers, would have an opt-out clause, should the NBA lockout end.
Walton joins a coaching staff that already includes ex-Cat Damon Stoudamire, who traveled across town earlier this summer from one assistant coaching gig with the Memphis Grizzlies to the same position with Pastner’s Tigers.
Pastner and Walton have seen their share of winning. The duo has won three national titles combined: Pastner 1997 NCAA title, Walton 2009 and 2010 NBA titles.
Walton is averaging 5.0 points and 2.3 assists per game during his eight-year career in Los Angeles. He and his father, Bill Walton (1977 and 1986), are the only duo in history to win multiple NBA championships.
Pastner is 49-20 in two seasons on the Memphis sidelines, leading the Tigers into the second round of the 2011 NCAA tournament.