In breaking news sure to shock the landscape of Memphis prep basketball, Tigersportsreport.com has learned that 5-star 2019 forward Chandler Lawson will not be at East High School next fall, nor will his younger brother Johnathan.
TSR first began monitoring this story about three (3) weeks ago but was unable to confirm it until Monday of this week. Additional clarity has been reached within the last 48 hours.
Chandler Lawson, at 6'8” with freakishly long arms, is the younger brother of Memphis standouts Dedric and K.J. Lawson. He was a starter for the 2016 Tennessee AAA champion East High Mustangs and continues to start for the team this year as a sophomore.
Lawson is the second-leading scorer for East at just under 14 points per game and leads the team in rebounds. He scored the game-winning dunk for East versus Montverde Academy at the Penny Hardaway National Hoopfest in January.
Johnathan Lawson, meanwhile, just led Bellevue Middle School to the 2017 West Tennessee Small Schools Boys' Sectional title, his second middle school crown in as many seasons. He was a 2016 West Tennessee Large Schools Boys' Sectional titlist last season at American Way Middle.
He was an all-tournament selection each time.
There was much anticipation of the brothers playing together next fall, presumably at East. And though the location appears to be changing, the brothers are looking forward to reuniting this fall.
The pair played together two (2) years ago at American Way during 2014-'15 season, when Chandler was an eighth-grader and Johnathan was in the sixth.
Keelon Lawson, Sr., the Hamilton High alumnus who coached the Wildcats to the last undefeated state championship from the Memphis area (AAA, 2006) and currently a member of the support staff to Tubby Smith at Memphis, confirmed crucial parts of the story.
“Yes, it's true that we're looking into other possible schools for both Chandler and Johnathan for next year,” Lawson said. “With East High School preparing for the postseason, I don't want to say anything else about that until after the season is over. We don't want to distract Chandler or his teammates.”
When pressed for a reason why, and asked if this indicated tension between himself and East coach Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, Lawson did offer this explanation:
“Look, Penny and I have a great relationship, and I'm grateful for everything he's done for Chandler,” Keelon began. “But both my sons are in a unique position and I have to do what I think is best for their futures.”
Though Lawson would comment no further, TSR has confirmed that potential landing spots for the youngest Lawson siblings include prep schools IMG, Montverde and Oak Hill Academies.
We will continue bringing you more details on this developing story.