Father of KU's Lawson brothers talks Memphis return


None by John Martin

File this away under the category: Worth Keeping an Eye On.

Keelon Lawson, the father of Kansas transfers Dedric and K.J. Lawson appeared on Memphis' 92.9 ESPN Radio recently and told sports talk host John Martin that he would not rule out a return to Memphis by the KU forwards should things go south with Kansas and the FBI.

To date, there is no reason to believe that will happen, as the Kansas program has merely been listed as having been defrauded by an Adidas executive in a federal indictment that outlines some of the details into the FBI's ongoing investigation into corruption in college basketball.

But it's definitely worth noting that these kinds of thoughts are (a) being considered and (b) being tossed out there publicly.

In the interest of full disclosure here, Keelon Lawson is on 92.9 FM ESPN Radio every Monday to talk with Martin about the ins and outs of basketball in the city of Memphis. During today's segment, Lawson was talking about the return of Penny Hardaway to Memphis as the Tigers head coach and hinted at some more exciting recruiting news coming in the near future for Hardaway's program.

When asked then, by Martin, if that meant the return of Dedric and K.J. to their hometown, Keelon Lawson laughed.

"Oh, nah. Ha ha ha ha," he said before elaborating on what his sons have been told by KU coach Bill Self about the FBI investigation.

"The only thing I could tell when talking to Dedric, he just said Coach Self said everything is fine," Keelon Lawson said on the air. "You could read the report that says Kansas is a victim, meaning somebody did something behind Kansas' back to make us be a victim. But he said, as far as everything with the coaching staff, they didn't have anything to do with it. And then they'll just let their attorneys handle the procedure.

"He told Dedric, if something were to come down, they (Dedric and K.J.) would be the first ones to know because, you know, they would be the first ones to know so they could have the opportunity to do whatever they have to do."

Asked, point blank, if he were ruling out a return to Memphis by his sons, Lawson said: "If something goes down with Kansas, if Penny would open the door to them to come back, as far as Coach Self being fired, I think the boys would entertain it. But as of right now, they're at Kansas."

The Lawson father was not shy about going on the radio and discussing his son's very public departure from Memphis and then-coach Tubby Smith last spring. On both the local airwaves and a national podcast with CBS Sports' Gary Parrish, Keelon Lawson talked openly about his sons' plans and the reason behind them.

With Hardaway, one of Memphis' favorite sons, now leading the Tigers program, a return to their hometown cannot be ruled out the way it might be if Smith were still leading the program.

But that's a lot of ifs and it seems as if there still would be a lot that would need to happen for this to become something other than idle chatter by the father of a couple of KU players. Beyond that, even if the Lawson brothers eventually did want to head back home, they would have to sit out yet another season before being eligible to play again.

Both Dedric and K.J. Lawson are in line for big roles with the 2018-19 Jayhawks, with Dedric, a potential future NBA Lottery pick, expected to start alongside KU center Udoka Azubuike, should he return for his junior season as many expect, in the KU front court next season.


LISTEN FOR YOURSELF: Jason & John Hour 3, 4/16/18 — Keelon Lawson, who appears on the show every Monday to talk about the ins and outs of basketball in the city of Memphis, jumps into the mix around the 30:00 mark and the specific stuff about KU starts around 37:00 and goes to about 41:00.


Daniel Kennamore 2 years, 7 months ago

After we still took them despite their behavior?


Good riddance if they leave then.

[''] 2 years, 7 months ago

Yep. This clown sounds like Lavar Ball Jr.

Titus Canby 2 years, 7 months ago

I was thinking Carl Henry, but your analogy is better. As Bugs Bunny would say, "what a maroon!"

Marius Rowlanski 2 years, 7 months ago

It seems neither dad can stop living through their kids but not nearly the same level as LaVar Ball.

John Fitzgerald 2 years, 7 months ago

I don’t think it’s a smart move for Keelon to make this public. But either way I’m sure Kansas will be just fine without them if they do in fact decide to leave.

Barry Weiss 2 years, 7 months ago

ya that is pretty tacky, talking smack about KU when we helped them.

Jesse Johnson 2 years, 7 months ago

Did you read the whole article? I don't see where he talked smack about KU.

Dirk Medema 2 years, 7 months ago

Really unlikely that anything happens with the FBI before next season so even more unlikely that anything changes for the roster - except Romeo being added. Their rental will be over by this time next year. Nothing to see here. "Interesting" side show stirring the Memphis pot. Fortunately a far cry from BBB.

Marius Rowlanski 2 years, 7 months ago

Do you find it likely that Adidas hasn't already "steered" players in the upcoming draft?

I know I don't.

Jonathan Allison 2 years, 7 months ago

He's trying to patch things up with his ex, you know, for a fall back option just in case things don't work out with the new girl.

I wonder if Bill Self addresses this kind of thing with player's parents.

Keelon, next time anyone asks you about your sons, maybe you should just stick to reality and not hypotheticals. They are Jayhawks and we expect big things from them next year.

Why would they leave Kansas for a school that probably won't win its league, probably won't make the NCAA tourney, and will play a fraction of the nationally televised games as KU?

Do you think that Kansas will get the death penalty? Or Bill Self gets fired? Postseason ban? Where do you draw the line? Are you scared that your sons will be overshadowed by all of the other talent on the KU roster? Dedric should be a star next year regardless of if Azubuike comes back or if we land Langford. Stop worrying and embrace being a Jayhawk.

Marius Rowlanski 2 years, 7 months ago

These kids come from all sorts of backgrounds. Basketball is a profession so why not teach these kids to make informed choices that a professional should.

.Agents, banking, past friends, and posses are some of the things besides having more money than thay ever dreamed. I'm not talking "how many points is a three-point shot?" but real academics to prepare them for their profession.

I'm sure Self must address this but what happens when all of this goes on before the kid even gets to college?

Nothing worse than seeing former athletes broke and on the street. It makes a lot more sense to learn the value of money while they still have it.

Andy Godwin 2 years, 7 months ago

Dedric would go to the G-league or Europe before transferring again, unless the NCAA approves some type of rule for basketball and football players that allow them to transfer without sitting out. Dedric is in position to play a major role if KU is to succeed next season and put himself in position to be a first rounder if he plays as expected.

Harlan Hobbs 2 years, 7 months ago

The real prize is their younger brother who is a senior in high school this coming year and one of the top recruits for next year.

My bet is that Dedric and K. J. play for KU this year and then are gone. Their younger brother will sign with Penny Hardaway at Memphis who was the high school coach for all three of them before taking over for Tubby Smith starting this next season.

Craig Carson 2 years, 7 months ago

dont know why he would even come out and say could be awhile before the FBI is fully done and even longer before the NCAA would even be able to start their own took 5 years for a ruling when Duke was going through the Corey Maggette issue...but even then, as long as KU isnt directly involved it isnt likely they'd have to forfeit any games from last season..the real question is, does Self take a risk and play Silvio next season??

Craig Carson 2 years, 7 months ago

yes they did clear him and they were duped just like KU, but until they come out and rule that no penalites with be handed out to KU, its still a risk playing him....

Marius Rowlanski 2 years, 7 months ago

Everything you said is right but this might take years to prosecute if ever and the NCAA is not part of the investigating team.

I'm just fishing...

Marius Rowlanski 2 years, 7 months ago

Not really my best answer so I'll try again.

You can sit and wait for something that NOBODY knows is necessary and be forced to watch another Jayhawk sitting on the bench waiting for clearance.

Are you really willing to see that optic? What is the record for having the most consecutive years where your top incoming talent sits on the bench waiting for the NCAA to make a decision? The best thing outcome is for Silvio to declare for the draft. He showed more than enough talent and athleticism in KU's postseason.

Shaen Allen 2 years, 7 months ago

I agree the youngest 2 Lawsons likely go to Memphis. Chandler and Jonathon are both really good, but Dedric is the best of the 4. KU is lucky to have him.

Henry Joseph Hofmeister 2 years, 7 months ago

puh lease. those brothers would be stupid to take another transfer year off. right now they could be 1st round if they play here to another final four. step aside dad, your boys are men now. they make their own decisions.

Doug Longstaff 2 years, 7 months ago

I agree, it is unlikely that they would transfer again. If they did play here a year, their only option would be to go pro, rather than transfer again.....unless they graduate next year, which is possible. In that scenario they could both transfer with a year of eligibility left (possibly 2 for KJ).

Marius Rowlanski 2 years, 7 months ago

HAHAHA! NOBODY is that stupid. Sit out another year? If they want to go- GO!

Udoka/Lightfoot/McCormick + a top-tier backcourt and we can repeat last year. Silvio?

I don't think this has any wings but...

Robert Brock 2 years, 7 months ago

The FBI will bring this to a head in three or four years. Meanwhile...

Marius Rowlanski 2 years, 7 months ago

You have more confidence than I do when it comes to the FBI. 3 or 4 years? They can easily drag this out much longer than that.

Shaen Allen 2 years, 7 months ago

I don't know the Lawsons, but I've been around them at tournaments, including this past weekend. This is not the Ball family. Not even close. He was asked a question and answered it honestly, including qualifiers. Of course if Self were fired they would look elsewhere. So would every other player.

As for the sons, Dedric is the best of the 4. He will be great for KU next year.

Dee Shaw 2 years, 7 months ago

The players and families today that these coach's have to deal with are unreal. Not only the coach's but fans as well. What a bunch of premadonna's. Pack your stuff up and don't let the door hit you where the sun doesn't shine. Why is it that it seems like KU gets all the problem children. Do you ever hear of issues like this with the Duke recruits? Frustrating.

Brian Skelly 2 years, 7 months ago

I think Duke controls the message better once they get on campus than we do. I don't know who or what gets credit or blame for that. I'd argue that KU is okay at it, but comes across as clumsy at best dealing with this. Maybe it's just not Self's strong suit. The fact that Duke spend nearly twice as much money on its hoops program that we do probably affords you a lot of PR handlers that KU just doesn't have.

Jonathan Allison 2 years, 7 months ago

When you say "not Bill Self's strong suit" are you meaning that Bill Self struggles to control the things that player's families say to the media?

If so, I really would disagree with that assertion for two reasons.

First Bill Self really has little control over what parent's say to the media. But what he does have control over is what messaging and how much of it are given to the player's parents. Sure he can, and probably does coach them in how to respond to different types of queries as much as he can. But for the most part it's all about his message to them. I'd be shocked if he doesn't have frequent and very consistent communications that go to families of players in order to almost indoctrinate them with certain words and phrases, that they can use as repsonses to various media or other external inquiries.

Second, over the 15 years that Self has coached at KU, there really haven't been very many issues with parents. Parents have mostly been overall pretty good for the program. We've had more parent's like Angel Morris than like Keelon Lawson, and really what this guy is saying is ultimately no big deal and will end up as water under the bridge.

Jay Hawkinson 2 years, 7 months ago

If you read the full context there's nothing to see here. The co-host completely led him into speculating about it, it's not something he brought up on his own.

Craig Carson 2 years, 7 months ago

that and he seems like he doesnt expect KU to face nay kind of punishment...least not while his 2 sons are there

Dirk Medema 2 years, 7 months ago

It is funny that some fans talk contemptuously about KUs leaders if they don't react and speculate about every little bit "news" that is thrown out on the internet but when the reaction from someone doesn't appear wonderful for KU there's just more contempt.


Marius Rowlanski 2 years, 7 months ago

Guess what? That's life, plain and simple.

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