Who’s Got Next? Cincinnati Lands Highly Touted Jermaine Lawrence…Posted by CLykins on February 6th, 2013
Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Chad Lykins, the RTC recruiting guru. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to discussing the recruitments of the top uncommitted players in the country. We also encourage you to check out his contributions dedicated solely to Duke Basketball at Duke Hoop Blog. You can also follow Chad at his Twitter account @CLykinsBlog for up-to-date breaking news from the high school and college hoops scene. If you have any suggestions as to areas we are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: ESPN Recruiting used for all player rankings
With the spring signing period rapidly approaching for the high school basketball senior class, only six players remained uncommitted from the ESPN 100 prior to Sunday. Now, there are five. New York native Jermaine Lawrence, the No. 19 overall prospect from the class of 2013, celebrated his 18th birthday over the weekend by verbally committing to the Cincinnati Bearcats. Lawrence, out of Pope John XXIII High School (New Jersey), pledged his commitment via social media by choosing the Bearcats over St. John’s and UNLV.
“I’m blessed to celebrate a milestone birthday!” Lawrence said in a statement on his Tumblr account. “My family and I would like to thank all the schools that showed interest. I’m humbled to have had the experience of being recruited. After a long decision with my parents, I’ve decided I’ll be attending the University of Cincinnati!” Bearcats head coach Mick Cronin had made Lawrence his most targeted recruit since last year’s spring recruiting period. Despite suffering a right hand injury during the AAU season that ultimately required surgery last October, Cronin and his staff remained persistent in their pursuit for the 6’9″ power forward.
In Lawrence, the Bearcats will bring in a long and athletic player who can impact the game in a variety of ways. He can score in transition, with his back-to-the-basket, and from the mid-range. He is also capable of putting the ball on the floor and taking his defender off the dribble. Lawrence’s commitment will make him the highest-rated player to commit to the Bearcats since Lance Stephenson (“Born Ready”)– a fellow New York native — in 2009. He will become a part of a five-man recruiting class for Cincinnati, which includes point guard Kevin Johnson, shooting guard Troy Caupain, small forward DeShaun Mormon and center Jamaree Strickland. A starting position for Lawrence will not be out of the question, as the Bearcats will lose three seniors, including guards Cashmere Wright and JaQuon Parker — two of the team’s leading scorers. His offensive ability will be a tremendous asset to a Cincinnati team that will be in dire need of a go-to player who can provide steady scoring production.
After recuperating from his surgically repaired right hand, Lawrence made his on-court return for Pope John on January 24 after missing the first 13 games of the season. He finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and five blocks off the bench in the winning effort. In five games played this season, Lawrence is averaging 14.6 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. He will be a significant addition to Cronin’s ascending program located on the banks of the Ohio River, regardless of which league they end up playing in over the next few years.