Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Canadian star A.J. Lawson closing in on college decision
By ADAM ZAGORIAST. CATHARINES, ONTARIO — A.J. Lawson has a busy few weeks ahead.
The 6-foot-7 Class of 2018 Canadian star who reclassified from 2019 is here playing for his home country in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship, where they hope to challenge the USA for a gold medal.
Once the event ends next weekend, he will begin a slew of college visits with the aim of making a decision in late June or early July.
Lawson has visited South Carolina and still plans to take official visits to Creighton (June 18-19) and Tulane (June 20-21) this week with Oregon and SMU next week.
“I only visited South Carolina so far, I’m taking my visits after all this is done,” Lawson told me after going for 18 points and 6 rebounds as Canada opened the event with a 92-75 victory over Argentina at the Meridian Centre. Florida-bound point guard Andrew Nembhard had 28 points and 6 assists in the win.
“Probably in the June 20th area, I’m going to visit all those schools,” Lawson added. “When all this National stuff is done, that’s when I’ll take my visits. And I’ll probably make a decision after all the visits are done.”
Lawson, ranked by North Pole Hoops as the No. 4 player in the country, visited South Carolina in late May. South Carolina assistant Chuck Martin was in the gym on Sunday for Canada’s first game.
“It was amazing, to be honest,” he said of the visit. “My family was there, Coach Coop [David Cooper of GTA Prep], it was a great experience. My first official visit, so I was new to everything. It was just a good time, I had my family there. We all just jelled together and had a great time. It was a great visit.”
Lawson broke down his other suitors:
Oregon: “It’s good knowing that they recruit Canadians and they take care of us. It’s a good program and I feel like if I was to go there, it would be a good fit. They have good people over there, a good coaching staff. It’s a good program.”
Creighton: “They’re a fast-paced team, they like to push the ball and they play my type of game, so it’s pretty good.”
Tulane: “Mike Dunleavy’s a great coach and he can teach me new skills. He said he had Shaun Livingston and he says I’m the next Shaun Livingston.”SMU: “They have big guards there, big guards that went to the NBA from SMU and they like to play fast-paced.”
Lawson believes the U18 event will prepare him for wherever he lands.
“It’s important,” he said. “Playing for my country, it gives you an extra feeling of aggression, just to play hard and play hard for your country. My teammates are all playing hard, and we’re trying to win together for our country.”
After the week ends, Lawson will be busy taking those college visits and then making his decision.
“Its going to busy,” he said, “but I’m looking forward to it.”
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.