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.