Memphis coach Josh Pastner, fresh off ESPN's No. 3 ranked class of 2013, is wasting no time to make sure the talent keeps coming to Tennessee. A large part of that success has come from his ability to keep in-state talent close to home. Austin Nichols, Nick King and Markel Crawford, three of the cornerstones of his 2013 class, are all from Tennessee.
Lawson, a 6'7 junior from Memphis, Tenn., is the second-highest ranked prospect in 2015 to commit. Mickey Mitchell, who sits at No. 23 by Rivals, committed to Ohio State in late August.
The Lawson family could prove to be the gift that keeps on giving for Pastner if he is able to develop a solid relationship with the family. The Lawsons are the Tennessee version of the Plumlees and Zellers. Rivals ranks Dedric Lawson, K.J.'s younger brother, as the No. 5 prospect in the class of 2016. The best of the whole lot might be down the road a few years. Chandler Lawson, a 12-year-old who already stands at 6'4, might be considered the best seventh-grader in the nation.
Landing the first Lawson brother is the key to the rest. As Gary Parrish of CBS Sports reported on a profile piece earlier this summer, the Lawson family is quite tight and enjoys their life in Memphis.
"The boys like Memphis, and Memphis is in a good spot," Keelon Lawson acknowledged. "So this is Josh's for the taking. But he's still got to court them. And Josh is funny. He wants them to commit [now.] He was like, 'You know there aren't many basketball schools in the south. They're all football schools. The only basketball schools are us and Kentucky.'"
K.J. Lawson is the first commit in Memphis' class of 2015.