Keelon Lawson, the father of Kansas forward Dedric Lawson and guard K.J. Lawson, said Monday in a Memphis radio interview that in a worst-case scenario regarding the FBI’s investigation into college basketball, the brothers would consider a transfer from KU back to Memphis, where they started their college careers.
“Well, if something goes down with Kansas, if Penny (Hardaway, the new Memphis coach) would open the door for them to come back … if something goes down with Kansas as far as Coach (Bill) Self being fired, I think the boys would entertain it (a return), you know what I’m saying?” Keelon Lawson said Monday on Memphis 92.9 FM’s “Jason (Smith) and John (Martin) Show.”
“As of right now, they are at Kansas. If something goes down, if Penny wants them back, it’d be up to the boys,” Keelon Lawson added.
Dedric Lawson, a 6-foot-9 junior, and K.J. Lawson, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, practiced but did not play in games this past season at KU in accordance with NCAA transfer rules. The Memphis natives left Memphis’ program for KU in April 2017. At that time, the Tigers were coached by Tubby Smith, who was fired after this past season. Smith was replaced by former Memphis and NBA guard Penny Hardaway.
Keelon, it should be made clear, indicated he had no reason to believe anything will “go down” at Kansas. The U.S. Attorney’s Office last week alleged in charges filed against Adidas executive James Gatto that a mother and a guardian of two unidentified Kansas players benefited from illegal payments — ones made without the knowledge of the university.
“When talking to Dedric … I talked to him this morning. He just said Coach Self said, ‘Everything is fine,’ ” Keelon Lawson told the radio station. “He said Kansas is a victim, meaning somebody did something behind Kansas’ back to make us be a victim.
“He (Self) said as far as anything with the coaching staff, they didn’t have anything to do with it. They’ll just let their attorneys handle whatever — the procedures. He told Dedric if something were to come down, they’d be the first ones to know so they’d have the opportunity to do what they have to do.”
Keelon Lawson said he’s happy Self addressed the FBI investigation with his sons.
“Like I said when it happened, Coach Self met with the boys and told them. He was being straight with them. He said if something does happen, he’d let them know,” Keelon said.
Keelon’s son Chandler Lawson, a 6-foot-8 junior forward from Memphis East High School who is ranked No. 49 in the recruiting class of 2019 by Rivals.com, is reportedly considering KU, Memphis, Kentucky, Florida and others.
“Chandler does like Memphis. He likes Penny,” Keelon Lawson said in the radio interview. “People have to understand, Chandler has been around Penny since sixth, seventh grade. He (Hardaway) has been around the boys. Penny has to do his due diligence and recruit him. I can’t say it would be a slam dunk.”
Keelon Lawson did not return a phone call to The Star seeking further comment.
Rivals.com on Monday issued its final rankings for players in the recruiting class of 2018. KU signee Quentin Grimes, a 6-foot-5 senior combo guard from College Park High in The Woodlands, Texas, improved three slots and finished No. 8 nationally.
Devon Dotson, a 6-foot-1 senior point guard from Providence Day High in Charlotte, N.C., dropped one slot to No. 18 from No. 17. David McCormack, a 6-foot-10 senior forward from Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., remained No. 33.
Ochai Agbaji, a 6-foot-4 senior guard from Oak Park High School, went from unranked to No. 141 in the class of 2018. KU target Romeo Langford, a 6-foot-5 senior combo guard from New Albany (Ind.) High, remained No. 6. He has a final three of KU, Indiana and Vanderbilt.
Six members of 2008 team playing pro ball
Former KU guard Mario Chalmers, who made an appearance Saturday at Two Light Luxury Apartments in Kansas City, is one of six players on KU’s 2007-08 NCAA title team still playing pro basketball.
Chalmers is an NBA free agent who just completed his ninth season in the league and his second with the Memphis Grizzlies. Cole Aldrich (Minnesota) and Darrell Arthur (Denver) also are in the NBA. Darnell Jackson (Greece) and Russell Robinson (Macedonia) played overseas this past season, while Brandon Rush had one 10-day contract with the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers.
Sasha Kaun has retired after playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015-16. Prior to that, he played seven seasons in Russia.
“Sasha had an ankle injury. I knew he’d retire. It’s something he told me about,” Chalmers said Saturday. “He had a great career, great time in Russia and a couple years in the NBA. You can’t complain about that.”
Also from that title team: Brennan Bechard (director of basketball operations) and Jeremy Case (video coordinator) are members of Self’s KU hoops staff. Brady Morningstar is assistant coach at Texas Wesleyan, and Brad Witherspoon is assistant coach at Barton (Kan.) Community College. Chase Buford is Chicago Bulls coordinator of player development.
Sherron Collins, meanwhile, has not retired. He has said he is hoping to play pro ball somewhere next season after sitting out this year.
Jayhawks in the playoffs
Nine former KU players are competing in the 2018 NBA Playoffs. They are: Cole Aldrich and Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota; Tarik Black, Houston; Nick Collison, Oklahoma City; Cheick Diallo, New Orleans; Joel Embiid, Philadelphia; Marcus Morris, Boston; Kelly Oubre and Markieff Morris, Washington.
Fantasy camp has openings
KU coach Self will hold his seventh-annual basketball fantasy camp May 3-5 at Allen Fieldhouse. Dino Gaudio, Fran Fraschilla, Miles Simon, Doug Gottlieb and Jerry Wainwright will work as celebrity coaches. One can sign up to play or coach at the camp online at BillSelfExperience.com.