Josh Pastner

Report: Keelon Lawson’s hire at Memphis to become offical this week

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Keelon Lawson is a former college basketball player that has become a state-title winning high school coach in Memphis, Tenn.

That makes him a legitimate target as an assistant coach at the Division I level, but what makes his imminent hire at Memphis — reportedly to become official in the next 48 hours, according to CBSSports.com and the Memphis Commercial-Appeal — is that Lawson happens to be the father of K.J., Dedric, Chandler and Jonathon.

K.J., a 6-foot-7 wing, is the No. 57 recruit in the Class of 2015 and already committed to Memphis. Dedric is a 6-foot-8 four-man and the No. 8 recruit in the Class of 2016, reportedly on the brink of committing to Memphis. Chandler is already 6-foot-6 despite being in the Class of 2019, also known as a rising-eighth grader. And Jonathan, who is 12, has a future that is just as bright.

The family is also related to current Memphis assistant Robert Kirby, meaning that head coach Josh Pastner has pulled out all stops in an effort to land each and every one of the Lawsons.

This wouldn’t be the first time that an assistant coach was hired in order to get his son onto campus. Ed Manning was hired by Larry Brown into to get Danny Manning to Kansas. John Reese was hired by Texas A&M to entice his son, J-Mychal, who has since transferred to North Texas.

The NCAA has made a push in recent years to eliminate these kind of package deals, where a relative or high school/AAU coach leverages his association with a prospect into a job. But there was an exception that was made: if the coach or relative is hired as one of the program’s three fulltime assistants, it is allowed.

USC athletic director Pat Haden to step down in June

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LOS ANGELES (AP) University of Southern California athletic director Pat Haden says he will retire on June 30.

USC President Max Nikias made the announcement Friday.

Haden has run the athletic department for 5 1/2 years, leading the Trojans through a multiyear stretch of NCAA sanctions against its vaunted football program. He created a large NCAA compliance program and improved graduation rates and grade point averages across the athletic department.

The former USC quarterback also received criticism for the football program’s relative underachievement and for his handling of coach Steve Sarkisian, who has sued the school over his termination last year.

Nikias says Haden’s department also raised over $400 million during his tenure.

Nikias says Haden will start a one-year job guiding the renovation of the Coliseum after he retires.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Ivy League’s best meet in New Haven

Columbia guard Maodo Lo, right, steals the ball from Northwestern forward Aaron Falzon, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in Evanston, Ill.  (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Columbia at Yale, 5:00 p.m.

The two best teams in the Ivy League, with matching 4-0 league records, meet for the first time this season. The Lions were close to suffering their first loss last weekend, but an Alex Rosenberg jumper as time expired gave the Lions the win at reigning champion Harvard. Rosenberg’s one of four players averaging at least 12.2 points per game for Kyle Smith’s team, with senior guard Maodo Lo leading the way at 15.8 per contest.

They’ll face a Yale rotation led offensively by point guard Makai Mason (15.7 ppg, 4.1 apg), and the front court tandem of Justin Sears and Brandon Sherrod has been outstanding. The winner get a leg up in the Ivy race, with the rematch scheduled for March 5 in New York City (regular season finale).

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Central Michigan at Akron, 8:00 p.m.

Two of the top teams in the Mid-American Conference meet at the JAR, as Akron looks to extend its win streak to six straight. The Zips’ balanced offensive attack has been led by forward Isaiah Johnson (12.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg), who currently leads the team in both scoring and rebounding. As for the visiting Chippewas, guards Braylon Rayson and Chris Fowler combine to average 32.7 points per game, with Fowler also responsible for a MAC-best 6.3 assists per contest. CMU’s had some struggles on the defensive glass in league play, ranking 11th in that category, but they’ve done a better job defensively than they did in non-conference play.

OTHER NOTABLE GAMES

  • MAAC leader Monmouth is back in action, as they host a Fairfield team led by one of the conference’s best players in senior forward Marcus Gilbert. The Hawks have a deep lineup led by junior guard Justin Robinson, who at this point in time is the likely frontrunner for MAAC Player of the Year honors.
  • Looking to catch Monmouth is Iona, which is a game behind the Hawks at 9-3. A.J. English and the Gaels visit Canisius in a matchup that should not lack for offense. Iona’s more inclined to run, but Canisius doesn’t lack scorers either with guard Malcolm McMillan leading four players averaging double figures.
  • Given the fact that they’re 1-3 in Ivy League play, Harvard’s essentially in the spoiler role unless some chaos breaks out at the top end of the standings. The Crimson can help in that regard with a win at Princeton, with the Tigers (2-1) a game behind Columbia and Yale in the loss column. Princeton’s been the better offensive team this season, thanks in large part to junior forward Henry Caruso who leads the team in both scoring and rebounding.