Memphis certainly has reason for optimism. The Tigers are in the top 15 of most preseason polls. They have one of the country's most highly rated freshman classes, and both Washington and senior forward Rodney Carney were among 50 players named to the preseason list for the Wooden Award. Perhaps best of all, their star playmaker has a legion of new fans, many of whom have never followed Memphis basketball. Fans who just want to know, Is Darius Washington O.K.?
"I'm O.K.," he says, his once-quivering lower lip stretched into a beatific smile. "I'm O.K."