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.