Hoop Hogs recruiting notebook: Lawson brothers leaving Oregon, in play for Arkansas

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Photo Courtesy: University of Oregon Athletics

LITTLE ROCK — There is a long line of talented Lawson brothers from Memphis, and two who are still (or will be) competing at the collegiate level are leaving the Oregon Ducks with the Arkansas Razorbacks among the few schools in the mix for their services.

Chandler Lawson (6-8 forward) entered the transfer portal last week, and according to his father, Keelon Lawson, Sr., he’ll have a zoom virtual meeting with Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman at 2 p.m. on Tuesday. Lawson said his son is likely down to a final five of Arkansas, Memphis, Missouri, Alabama, and TCU, and that a decision should be made “by the end of the week.”

“I’d say they’re (Arkansas) in the top 5,” Keelon Lawson told Hogville.net on Monday morning. “He’s got a zoom at 2 with them tomorrow.”

A national Top 100 / 4-star prospect in the Class of 2019, Chandler Lawson played two seasons at Oregon and made 20 starts in 59 games. As a sophomore in 2020-21, he averaged 4.4 points and 3.0 rebounds in 17.8 minutes per game while shooting 51.0% from the field, including 4-of-11 from 3 for 36.4%, and 50.0% from the free throw line on a team that won the Pac-12 regular season title before advancing to the NCAA tournament Sweet 16. He scored a season-high 10 points (5-of-6 field goals) in the Ducks’ 91-73 win over Arizona State in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals on March 11. His career highs in both scoring and rebouding came during his freshman season in ’19-20 when he notched his only double-double (16 points and 12 rebounds in 28 minutes) in Oregon’s 64-61 overtime win at Washington.

Due to the covid pandemic exception made by the NCAA, college players will receive an extra year of eligibility, meaning Chandler Lawson will have three more seasons of playing eligibility beginning in ’21-22.

Younger brother Johnathan Lawson, who signed with Oregon in the November early period after including Arkansas in his final 5 list of schools, has requested a release from his signed national letter of intent as he too intends to play elsewhere in ’21-22.

“He’s waiting on his release to come through,” Keelon Lawson, Sr. said. “When it’s done and if they’re (Arkansas) interested, they’d be in it (among the favorites).”

Johnathan Lawson (6-6 combo guard) was also a national Top 100 / 4-star prospect in the Class of 2020, and as a high school junior he was named the Gatorade Tennessee High School Player of the Year in 2020 after averaging 27.2 points, 13.1 rebounds, and 7.0 assists at Memphis Wooddale during the ’19-20 season.

Two older Lawson bothers — Keelon, Jr. (KJ) and Dedric — began their college careers at Memphis before transferring to Kansas. KJ finished his college career at Tulane.

Keelon Lawson, Sr., a career high school and college coach, was high school teammates with Razorbacks icon Todd Day at Memphis Hamilton in the mid-1980s.

“I won a state championship coaching his (Johnathan Lawson’s) brothers, and his dad was my center in high school,” Day told Hogville.net in April 2020. “(Johnathan) may be the best guard out of Memphis since Penny Hardaway.”

* Arkansas coaches have made between 40 and 50 contacts with transfer portal prospects with one already committed to the Hogs in Pitt junior-transfer Au’Diese Toney (commitment story linked here: https://forums.hogville.net/index.php?topic=728029.0). Eastern Illinois senior-transfer Marvin Johnson (6-6 guard, first team All Ohio Valley Conference in ’20-21 after averaging 15.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.9 steals) remains a recruiting priority for Arkansas, according to a source, as he has the Hogs in his final 4 list of schools that includes Mississippi State, New Mexico State, and Drake. The Razorbacks are also on the final schools lists of multiple portal prospects, including Miami senior-transfer Chris Lykes (5-7 point guard; averaged between 15.4 and 16.2 points in his last 3 seasons with the Hurricane but only played in two games in ’20-21) who’s down to Arkansas and Southern Cal; Penn State junior-transfer Myreon Jones (6-3 guard; 15.3 points and 39.5% shooting from 3 in ’20-21) who’s down to Arkansas, LSU, Florida, and Ole Miss; Missouri junior-transfer Xavier Pinson (6-2 guard; 13.6 points, 2.9 assists, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.1 steals in ’20-21) who according to a source is down to Arkansas and Auburn; Toledo transfer Marreon Jackson (6-1 guard, 2nd team All MAC in ’20-21 after averaging 18.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 5.9 assists) who’s down to Arkansas, Arizona State, Miami, and Georgetown as he intends to announce his decision on Friday; and East Tennessee State freshman-transfer Damari Monsanto (6-6 forward; 11.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.1 steals per game in 27.4 minutes per game in ’20-21 and was the Southern Conference Freshman of the Year) who’s down to Arkansas, Virginia, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Wake Forest, and Butler.

* Priority 2022 in-state recruit Kel’el Ware (6-11 center, North Little Rock, 17U All Arkansas Red, national No. 32 prospect according to 247Sports.com) on Saturday announced his list of top 10 schools: Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Missouri, Texas A&M, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, and Oral Roberts. Recently named MVP of the 6A state championship game after finishing with 19 points and 8 rebounds in the Charging Wildcats’ 65-55 win over rival Little Rock Central for the title, Ware told Hogville.net why the Razorbacks made his list of 10 favorite schools: “Arkansas is on the list because they’re always in contact with me and I’m impressed on how far they made it (in the NCAAT).” Ware said he does not have a timeframe for cutting down his list or announcing a commitment.

* We first reported on March 30 that 2023 Arkansas offer Layden Blocker (6-2 point guard, 16U Brad Beal Elite) will attend prestigious Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kan., for his junior season in ’21-22, which continues a recent trend of in-state players stepping outside of the state to play at basketball schools that compete independently while playing a national schedule. Blocker, who played his freshman and sophomore seasons at Little Rock Christian Academy, follows in the footsteps of Moses Moody (Montverde Academy in Florida), KK Robinson (Oak Hill Academy in Virginia), and Jalen Ricks (Oak Hill Academy in Virginia) to play high school hoops outside the state of Arkansas.

* 2022 Arkansas offer Creed Williamson (6-8 forward, Little Rock Christian Academy) told Hogville.net on Saturday that Arkansas, Kansas, and St. John’s are the high major schools most involved with his recruitment.

* 2022 Arkansas commit and Rivals.com 4-star prospect Joseph Pinion (6-6 wing, Morrilt) shared his toughts with Hogville.net on Saturday about the Hogs’ recent run to the NCAAT Elite Eight: “The team looked really good, I was really happy to see them make it to the Elit Eight. I feel like they should have beat Baylor and should have been playing in the Final Four. But you know, they need to shore up some things and they’ll be back soon.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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