The city of Memphis churns out a ton of hoops talent, and one of the most impressive things that Josh Pastner has done as the head coach of the Tigers is to more-or-less put up a fence around the city.
If there is a talented hooper from Memphis that Pastner wants, Pastner usually gets him. And while there are some that have slipped through his fingers — Jarnell Stokes is at Tennessee and Leron Black and Chris Chiozza committed to Illinois and Florida, respectively — the majority of the high-major talent that is produced by the city stay in the city.
Enter the Lawsons.
If you haven’t heard about these kids yet, they are the Memphis version of the Plumlees, the South’s Hamilton family. K.J. is the oldest, is the No. 25 recruit in the Class of 2015, while Dedric, the middle brother, is the No. 5 prospect in 2016. The best of the bunch may end up being 12 year old Chandler, who is already 6-foot-4. And don’t forget about Jonathan, a fifth-grader.
Put another way, by tapping into the Lawson pipeline, Pastner could make the next decade of his coaching career just that much easier.
On Monday, he got that process started, as KJ committed to play for the Tigers. The news was first reported by Evan Daniels of scout.com.
Now, the Lawsons are a tight-knit family. Their father is a high school coach in the city. Josh Pastner went out and hired Robert Kirby as an assistant this summer; Kirby is a cousin of the Lawsons. Most everyone in recruiting circles believe that the Lawsons — all of them — will be headed to Memphis when they reach that age.
So this doesn’t come as a surprise. But it is a first step.
K.J. Lawson is the first commit in the Tiger’s 2015 class.
No. 15 Cincinnati pounced on Memphis from the start, taking a 51-32 lead into halftime.
Then, Gary Clark decided to add insult to injury to start the second half. Seriously, how did he catch that?
Mick Cronin’s team is much better offensively than in previous seasons. I’m sure fans in the Fifth Third Arena can get used to seeing more plays like this.
Michigan State freshman guard Cassius Winston had just one field goal in the first half. And it was a half-court buzzer-beater as the Spartans capped a sizable run to take a 49-31 lead over Nebraska going into the break.
The Spartans ended the half on a 21-5 run.
Winston provided a serious boost off the bench during that stanza. Moments earlier, he helped the Breslin Center erupt when he lobbed a pass off the backboard to teammate Miles Bridges.
Michigan State opened the day projected as one of the final at-large bids in the NCAA Tournament. The margin for error is thing and it appears the Spartans are playing with a sense of urgency.
Wednesday’s slate of games had several wild results.
Former Ohio State walk-on turned blogger turned author Mark Titus, who is currently writing for The Ringer, joined Rob Dauster on the latest episode of the CBT Podcast to go over last night’s games. The two also discussed who is the best team in the nation at the moment, as well Frank Mason III’s rap single from several years ago #BIFM
You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Audioboom
North Carolina’s Roy Williams called fellow Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino to apologize for a fan’s behavior during Wednesday night’s game in Chapel Hill.
While leaving the floor at halftime, Pitino had to be restrained by members of the Louisville coaching staff and he and a UNC fan exchanged words as he made his way to the locker rom. There’s video of Pitino pointing and shouting at a fan, who reportedly said, “Pitino, you suck!”
“I don’t like that,” Williams said, according to the Charlotte Observer. “I mean we’re in North Carolina. We don’t have to be like everybody else. We can raise Cain. You can boo, but you don’t have to say the stuff that we as coaches have to put up with.”
“I hope that never happens at North Carolina ever again.”
No. 8 North Carolina defeated No. 7 Louisville, 74-63.
STILL TO PLAY
Georgia at Alabama (RPI: 68, KenPom: 61, next four teams), 7:00 p.m.
Nebraska at Michigan State (RPI: 43, KenPom: 55, No. 10 seed), 7:00 p.m.
Towson at UNC Wilmington (RPI: 41, KenPom: 57, No. 12 seed), 7:00 p.m.