Men's Tennis Adds Three for 2004-05
Sept. 8, 2004
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A high school prep player who guided his high school team to an undefeated state championship, a Memphis-area product opting to return home, and a Texas junior college transfer highlight the 2004-05 Memphis men's tennis roster.
Freshman Bryan Bankester (Madison, Miss./Madison Central) is the one four-year signee for the Tiger program after helping his prep team to an undefeated Class 5A championship in 2003-04. A top 20 ranked player in the USTA Southern rankings, Bankester was the top ranked player in the state of Mississippi last year. An All-State honoree, Bankester was also honored a PopStar Award winner as one of the state's best prep student-athletes. Bankester was also honored by The Clarion Ledger as an All-Metro honoree.
As a junior, Bankester won the 5A boys singles title after finishing as the 5A runner up as a sophomore. He won the MPSA No. 2 boys singles title at Madison-Ridgeland Academy as an eighth grader. Also an honor roll student, Bankester was coached by Terrie Garren and Ray and Walker Sahag.
"Bryan is an extremely hard worker that will fit in well with the rest of the team. He comes from a great family and has a great tennis background," Coach Paul Goebel said. "It's always nice for us to be able to add a recruit from our neighboring state of Mississippi."
Bankester is the son of Mary Lynn and Charles Bankester. Already familiar with the Memphis area, senior Scott Felsenthal (Memphis, Tenn./White Station) is returning home after spending his first three season at the University of Washington. At Washington, Felsenthal played No. 5 and 6 singles for the Huskies, finishing with a 6-8 record and also played No. 3 doubles, where he was 4-4. A three-year letterwinner at Washington, the White Station graduate helped Washington to a 15-9 record last year. During Felsenthal's freshman year, the Huskies reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tennis Championships. At Washington, Felsenthal downed Harvard's Jack Li during the ITA National Team Indoor Championships and he also advanced to the third round of the ITA Regionals last season.
"It's great to bring Scott back to Memphis," Goebel said. "His three years of college experience will add a lot of leadership to our team. Scott has been a part of the Memphis tennis scene since he was young, so it's really nice to have him want to be a part of our program here now."
As a prep player at White Station, Felsenthal played No. 1 singles and doubles and helped the team to a second place finish at the state tournament his freshman, sophomore and senior years. As a sophomore Felsenthal teamed with Greg Pollack to win the state doubles championship, a feat he would repeat when teamed with his brother in 2001. His brother, Andrew, will attend Alabama this season. A three-time team captain and team MVP under coach Beverly Cox at White Station, Felsenthal started playing Memphis at The Racquet Club in the Pee-Wee Tennis group at the age of 4. His entire family plays tennis, including his parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins. He is the son of Peter and Judy Felsenthal.
Garrison Pilant comes to Memphis after spending last season at Collin County Community College in Texas, where he went 35-12, helping the team to a 20-4 record. He finished the year the No. 41 ranked singles player in the ITA NJCAA rankings, the highest ranking of anyone on the roster.
"Garrison plays a great, aggressive game style that fits into our teaching philosophy here in Memphis," Goebel said. "Like all our guys we added this year, he comes from such a great family and is such a great guy to be around that we're happy to have him here. It's great to get three American players who all come understand our goals and who will fit in well both on and off the court for us."
An honors graduate of Lake Highlands High School in Dallas, a program that has sent four other student athletes through the Memphis athletics department in recent years (Brittany Barnett - Volleyball, the Harden brothers - Football), Pilant was an all-region honoree two years at Lake Highlands, where he was a three-sport athlete. He was ranked No. 20 in the state of Texas as a prep player. Under head coach Bob Williams, Pilant helped his team to the state finals in 2001 and the semifinals in 2002.
Pilant is the son of Gary and Debe Pilant.