Memphis transfers could be Georgia Tech’s gain

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Memphis transfers could be Georgia Tech’s gain

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Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner shouts instructions in a basketball game at McCamish Pavilion on Saturday, February 11, 2017. Georgia Tech won 65 - 54 over the Boston College. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Georgia Tech’s recruiting efforts for the 2017 signing class may have taken a sharp turn. Dedric and K.J. Lawson, brothers who were recruited by coach Josh Pastner at Memphis, have decided to transfer.

Given their connection to Pastner, who also hired their father Keelon Lawson to join his staff at Memphis, it’s highly likely that Tech will have interest.

Tech has five scholarships available with the transfer of Christian Matthews . New York point guard Jose Alvarado signed, and Pastner received a commitment from Oklahoma guard Curtis Haywood.

While the Lawsons will be required to sit out a season wherever they transfer, they would both have two seasons of eligibility remaining and would seem worth the wait. Dedric Lawson, a 6-foot-9 forward, was a first-team American Athletic Conference selection after averaging 19.2 points and 9.9 rebounds. He ranked second in the league in scoring and first in rebounding. His brother K.J., a 6-7 redshirt freshman guard/forward, was named the conference rookie of the year. He averaged 12.3 points and 8.1 rebounds, finishing third in the league in rebounding.

Both were rated in ESPN’s top 50 coming out of Hamilton High in Memphis. Dedric was named a McDonald’s All-American.

More intriguingly, the Lawson brothers (Dedric was a year below K.J. in high school but reclassified to join his brother’s class) have two younger brothers, Chandler and Johnathan. Chandler is rated the No. 20 sophomore nationally by ESPN and Johnathan, an eighth grader, is said to be a similarly elite player.

A statement from both brothers read that “We are born and raised in Memphis, love the city with all of our hearts; however, we must do what is best for our future, our dreams, and our family, so we plan to transfer from the university.”

Keelon Lawson, who was moved to a non-coaching staff position by Tigers coach Tubby Smith after he replaced Pastner, has reportedly left the team. In a statement, Smith said that he was “surprised and disappointed in the decision.”

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