Why K.J. Lawson's season key to Kansas recruiting
Myron Medcalf does a nice job of detailing why he considers Keelon Lawson to be “the most influential man in college basketball,” in a story he wrote for ESPN.com.
The gist of the story that appears under the headline, “Meet the new first family of college basketball”: Keelon Lawson not only has two highly ranked sons playing high school basketball in Memphis, but one of them might form a package deal with the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2019.
Dedric Lawson and K.J. Lawson will make their debuts at Kansas this coming season after starring for two seasons at Memphis, where their father, Keelon Lawson, was demoted by Tubby Smith from the assistant coaching position for which Smith’s predecessor, Josh Pastner, hired him.
Ranked No. 47 in the Class of 2019 by ESPN, 6-foot-8 Chandler Lawson is being recruited by Kansas. Ranked No. 14 in the Class of 2021 by ESPN, Johnathan Lawson is a 6-6 forward.
The moment the older Lawson brothers transferred to Kansas, the Jayhawks became the favorites to land both younger brothers.
Chandler Lawson’s high school teammate, James Wiseman, is a 7-footer ranked No. 1 in the Class of 2019 by ESPN, and Medcalf writes that there is speculation that Wiseman and Chandler Lawson might form a package deal and attend the same college.
It seems as if those package deals seldom come to fruition though.
If Dedric and K.J. Lawson enjoy this season, KU would seem to be in great shape for landing at least Chandler Lawson, maybe even Wiseman.
But it’s not a slam dunk. Their coach at Memphis East High, Memphis basketball legend Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway of NBA fame, was hired by Memphis to replace Smith, who is in his first year at his alma mater, High Point University in High Point, N.C.
Smith was fired after two seasons on the job at Memphis, the beginning of the end of his tenure coming when he demoted Keelon Lawson. Hardaway, Medcalf writes, goes back 20 years with the Lawson family, so Memphis has a shot at restoring relations with the family.
If all goes well for the older Lawson brothers this season, though, KU could be difficult to beat for Chandler Lawson and Wiseman.
Dedric Lawson very well may be KU’s best player. How well the 6-7 K.J. Lawson makes the transition to the perimeter could factor in his playing time and in turn become an influence on where Chandler Lawson, and maybe even Wiseman, attend college in 2019-20. K.J. averaged 12.3 points and 8.1 rebounds and shot .328 from 3-point range as a sophomore for Memphis. He has made it clear he considers himself a guard. If his skills don't match his self-scout, it has the potential to develop into a sticky situation, something of a puzzle for Self to solve.