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Lawson Brothers Heading To Florida For Prep

KJ Lawson University of Memphis Commit (Team Penny)

 

For the Lawson family, basketball is life but at the same time, it’s the family business and now a “business” like decision has been made for one of the best brother duos in the country if not the best. 6’9 consensus top 10 player in 2016 Dedric Lawson and University of Memphis commit  KJ Lawson have decided to head for the sunny skies of Florida, Jacksonville that is where they will play for perennial prep power, Arlington Country Day. While older brother Keelon will be a senior, for Dedric it will only be his junior year giving him 2 years possibly to play a national schedule filled with games against Monteverde Academy amongst many of the  country’s best player and prep schools. Father Keelon Lawson Sr said ” It will help them prepare for college, really help KJ because he will be able to get used to playing his true position, the 3 spot”. ACD head coach Rex Morgan has had great success including over 800 wins in his career and being named 1 of the 12 best Nike Elite coaches in the country which was something to the head of the family but it was just one of  the things that made the decision easier. “Knowing some of the his connects and resources, it definitely played into the decision, we have discussed prep before but now this is the right time”

Are concerns valid for Tiger fans, perhaps but for senior to be KJ, his commitment stands firms. Dedric however  is open and not a lock to any school as some may think including where his brother will play in the 2015-2016 season. Keelon said, ” I think more will be willing to come and see him and visit him there in Florida instead of coming to  Coach Pastner and Tiger country. The story however wasn’t intended to be this way or come out in this manner. While the family was still pondering the idea of leaving Memphis for Florida, word spread quickly not due to their consent. “I didn’t like how it happened, if I didn’t answer , we (wife Dedra) didn’t answer, then you call the boys trying to press the issue so you can run with a story to be the first to come out with it, I just didn’t like it, what if I had said we weren’t’ going, then it would have made those who reported look foolish.

Now another chapter begins possibly for 6’7 2019 second to the youngest son, Chandler Lawson who will play middle school ball in Memphis before enrolling at ACD later in the year. Chandler is widely considered a top 3 player in his class and number 1 by a few but Coach Lawson like his sons will be making a change as well resigning his position at Hamilton to become an assistant at ACD next to Coach Morgan. While it will be an adjustment, a different state, the ball will still bounce the same but it’s all in the life of the Lawson family. For some it’s sport but for the Lawson’s, business as usual.

 

 

 

Memphis WarEagle Invitational (Notes)

Rashad Williams Shows Some Promise!! (Team Thad 6’1 Guard)

Overall, I thought the WarEagle Invitational was a good way to good a look at a few teams as we get ready for the spring and summer. We are less than a few weeks away from AAU sub state for some age groups and that times goes quickly for those in the circle of city when it comes to basketball. I like Team Thad’s 2018 team. They have pretty good guard depth, some may think a little to much at guard but good overall. They  have some length with Garrett Golday (6’4) and Bruce Guy (6’4) who can play 4 but down the line will be a 3 guy who both can be versatile and interchangeable at forward positions. Coulter Dotson from Nashville will play some stretch 4 for them with his ability to hit the 3. I like the make up of this team but as we all know, in Memphis, coaching new teams with good talent can be a challenge, this is no different.

            Team Thad 2018

  1. Braxton Winford 6’1 G/F
  2. Garret Golday 6’4 Forward
  3. Carlos Sandifer 5’9 PG
  4. Trey Davis 5’9 PG
  5. Avant Blueitt 5’8 PG
  6. Coulter Dotson 6’4 Forward
  7. Bruce Guy 6’4 Forward
  8. Rashad Williams 6’1 Guard
  9. Derrick Craig 5’9 PG

Team Thad’s 2017 group has a new look with some new pieces and guys play bigger roles. Gone right now are Chase Hayden, Noah Pope and James Babb but they have picked up a few more players to fill those spots but those 3 will be hard to replace. Guard Blake Williams and Tyler Harris are back in the roles, Williams as the get where he wants pg and Tyler as now the best shooter in 2018 in the city. Carlos CJ” Marshall has grown some, close to 6’5 or at that mark, Marshall is putting it on the floor now, attacking and use the dribble to create the jumper for himself and looked comfortable doing so. I really like where he’s headed in his development as a player. He’s a possible top 10 player in that class in the city. William Douglas is playing a bigger role this year as more of a scoring threat instead of maybe just the defender he was in the past. This team is still good, make no mistake but the losses will be felt especially early on as they look for continuity and guys grow into their roles.

Team Thad 2017

  1. Blake Williams 5’11 PG
  2. Tyler Harris 5’9 PG
  3. Carlos Marshall 6’5 SF
  4. Dedrick Boyd 6’2 SG
  5. William Douglas 6’2 SG

Team Penny’s B team has talented guards but no length, it will be hard to be in the upper echelon of 8thly. grade teams but it wouldn’t surprise me to see that group get better and better as they play more tournaments together. Their key players include Jordan Johnson, Greg Williams and Torrian Kirkendoll among others.

Team Penny (White)

  1. Jordan Johnson 5’9 PG
  2. Chris Garner 5’9 PG
  3. Greg Williams 5’11 G/F
  4. Torrian Kirkendoll 5’8 PG
  5. Cameron Jones 6’0 G/F
  6. Cullen Hughes 5’10 G
  7. Joseph Thaxton 6’0 G

2018 Memphis Love has some good pieces especially in Roderick Brown, a 6’4 athletic G/F who is as athletic as any player in the city in this group. if not more athletic. They are led by Kevon McMahan, Martrell Brooks, Braylon Brown and Keyshawn Davis.This could be a sneaky good team in the sub state and state should teams take them lightly. M33M 2017 will be solid team led by Luke Wiseman, Christian Despeaux who has filled out in his upper body and played strong when I watched him, Josh Gray and Jalen Reed. Will this be the year they make the leap to being a top 2 team in that age group or is still Team Penny and Team Thad? The Memphis WarEagles 2019 has the best team in the city once again, led by pretty recognizable crew in Joe Cooper, DJ Jeffries, Antavion Mcollum and Shemar Brown with new addition Kyle Sturdivant from Georgian and Chavez Walker who played with them last year. The next best team in that group will be the Memphis Wildcats with Chandler Lawson, Sky Forrest and a lot of new pieces. Sky will be in a bigger role with them which should make him more of aggressive scorer while Chandler Lawson will still cause most fits with his versatility and ability to play all over the floor and added athleticism which is allowing him to play over the rim now. Eric Gray and Ashton Smith will play the primary guard spots. Just a look at some of the best teams in the city who will all make some noise locally and nationally.

 

 

 

Year In Review 2013-2014

Jeremiah Martin & The Mitchell Captured A State Title!!!

 

Well well well, now it’s time to say good bye to all my hoop heads, well that is the fans who only get out during the high school season. There were a few story lines this year, a few came to fruition, a few didn’t turn out the way some wanted but for those coming back next season, it’s on to the next in hopes of doing what only 1 Memphis team did this year, win a state title. That team as most know, the Mitchell Tigers, your Single A state champions for the 2013-2014 season. How did it happen? Well it wasn’t pretty at the beginning as most of the faithful fans of Mitchell would tell you, they in fact at one point were under .500 for a few games during the season but you just had a feeling once they got to their regular schedule that they could do something special and did they ever. Mitchell started a win streak that didn’t end until they won the state. Proud, most definitely for their program, they were close with Coach Johnson a few years ago, going I think 2 or 3 years in a row but never winning it. Fast forward to Coach Phillips, 3 years as head coach, 2 straight state appearances and this year, they win it on the play of their juniors Jeremiah Martin, Naba Echols, Kylan Phillips and big contributions from senior Antoine Garrett among others and by the way, I don’t think they are done. If you look up one sentence, the key word I said, “juniors” and they have them all coming back and will be ready for another run next year for the possible 2 peat.

In Double A, Manassas I think was a bit overlooked all year long because of the star players of Douglas Freddie Williams and Lagerald Vick and some people’s favorite out of area in Double. I wasn’t as confident in their run and I knew that Manassas had a team capable because that’s what assistant coach Jerry Anthony told me and he was right. Manassas ran into a buzz saw in Jackson Southside, the Double A state champions, no shame in that ending a great year and a good prep career by Rayford Albright who will play college basketball next year on some level. Douglass will return Lagerald Vick next season but without Freddie Williams, they will need someone to step up and help Vick offensively. I thought Raleigh Egypt underachieved a little bit but it just shows how important guard play is in this city.

In Triple A, this was supposed to be the year of White Station, the best team in the state all year long, ranked in the top 10 of the country most of the year only losing 2 games but again, Memphis basketball is tough and the hardest part of getting to the state is getting out of Memphis. They were upset in the sub state game by Arlington, a team that many didn’t think was capable of beating White Station losing to them by double digits in the city title game just weeks before and earlier in the season. I don’t think most remember though that White Station barely beat them at the beginning of the season and where was that game played? Arlington High School. The Triple A participants were decided, Hamilton beating Dyer County and Arlington in Mufreesboro. Hamilton beat Southwind and White Station and winning the regional but in Mufreesboro, ran into hometown favorite Blackman (Triple A state champs) and lost in the first game.  Arlington beat a good Siegel team and lost in the final 4 to Oak Ridge both I thought in a little home cooking but  I’m from Memphis so am I supposed to be that way? Truth is in the numbers in both games and an upset and emotional head coach of Arlington interview after which I’m sure still has some talking in Mufressboro, I’m sure wouldn’t disagree with my logic but that’s basketball and at the end of the day, their will be next year. For guys like Leron Black, Davell Roby, great 4 years young men, job well done, CJ Anderson who was a finalist for Mr.Basketball, KJ Bates, Keion Peoples among other seniors, the road doesn’t stop here, it’s only the beginning.

 Is it to early to talk about next year?  Not really is it? Well, I’m going to give you a sneak preview any way for the hoop heads in the city .Hamilton will return KJ Lawson and brother Dedric, Terrance Baker and Terrance Birdsong along with Romero Hill. They will be heavy favorites in 16AAA. White Station will return Nych Smith and Dillon Mitchell along with sophomore Aaron Strother. Arlington will lose a lot of senior leadership but will bring back sharp shooter Nate Hoover and 6’5 swing man Adarius Avery. Replacing Anderson and Bates will be hard. for the Tigers, especially early in the year. Mitchell brings back Naba Echols, Jeremiah Martin, Kylan Phillips and expect a few more new guys to the line up to step in and produce. Ridgeway had a up and down year and should be better next year with a full senior year from Khalil Spencer, Javion Hamlet and junior Eric Curry. A team in the running as a top 3 team in the city next year Southwind has a some questions but should still have Eric Turner, a much improved player this year, 6’6 Julian Richardson and Donte Fitzpatrick or will he back? It’s rumors swirling already but one thing for sure, it will be interesting. Coach Davis and Germantown has one of the youngest teams in the city in Darrell Brown, Johnathan Bins, Rodney Williams, Jacob Ivey and Michael Bamrick who will provide scoring ability. Team to watch next year as well, East High School won’t say why but those in the know, know what I’m speaking of. Booker T Washington will have a say in Single A next year as well if they can add another scorer to go with guards Chauncey Blakely and Tyree Beason.

It’s been real 2013-2014 and now on to the 14-15 school year, which I’m sure will be extremely eventful and interesting to say the least.

 

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