Former Memphis high school preps star Chandler Lawson had familiar faces on hand for his second collegiate game – both on the floor and in the stands.
Lawson, who played for current Tigers head coach Penny Hardaway when Hardaway was coaching at East High School, is now a freshman for the University of Oregon. And he took the floor against Hardaway and many of his former teammates on Nov. 12, as part of the Phil Knight Invitational.
Lawson scored eight points and four rebounds in the Ducks’ 92-84 win over the Tigers.
“It was fun going against some of my former teammates,” Chandler Lawson said, “Now I got bragging rights.”
Lawson’s family also made their first trip to see him play. Chandler’s parents Keelon and Dedra Lawson even brought little brother Jonathan (brother) to Portland for the game.
“I enjoyed seeing him play, especially against some of his old teammates,” said Keelon Lawson, himself a prominent coach in Memphis. “It was a great atmosphere. The Oregon fans love him.
“Chandler has gotten a lot stronger since he has left high school,” Keelon Lawson added. “He runs the floor well and he is catching up with the speed of the game.”
Chandler Lawson played with current Tigers James Wiseman, Alex Lomax, Malcolm Dandridge, Bryan Boyce and Jaden Hardaway at East where they won the 2017 State Championship. The connections continue: Lawson also played AAU ball with current Tiger D.J. Jeffries on Team Penny, also coached by Hardaway.
“Chandler has is a high IQ-player,” Hardaway said. “He rebounds the ball very well. He is going to make the right decision out there.
“I knew he was going to affect the game, because he knows a lot of the guys,” Hardaway said of Lawson. ” I am really proud of him and his growth is going to be better every year.”
Oregon head coach Dana Altman is trying to blend his younger players with some of his veteran players, in hopes that the chemistry is perfect in time for tournament season. For his part, Chandler Lawson is just trying to adapt.
“It is coming on very well,” Lawson said. “I just have I just to focus and learn from the veterans. It is going pretty well so far.”