June 30, 2015

Lawrence Bulldogs full ride

Kevin McCarthy

He can't make it official under the auspices of the NCAA until early November but Brandon Lawrence has made his college call and it will be Fresno State University.

photo of Brandon Lawrence

The NCP No. 17 prospect in the 2016 class went with the Mountain West Conference Bulldogs this past weekend for multiple reasons. “It's a great conference and the best opportunity for me. I have a good relationship with Assistant Coach Byron Jones (the recruiting coordinator) and got to know Coach [Rodney] Terry on my visit.” Terry is the fifth-year head coach whose team notched a 10-8 won-loss league record in 2014-15 and won 21 games overall the year before.

Moreau Catholic Coach Frank Knight believes that this is a good fit for his 6-foot-3 shooting guard. “I think Brandon will fit well at Fresno State. The Mountain West is a good basketball conference especially on the west coast. Anytime you get to go up against UNLV, San Diego State, Nevada and New Mexico twice a year, then it's a highly competitive conference. Brandon is known for his shooting ability but Fresno will play him as a combo-guard. Brandon will be called upon to shoot the ball and to run the club. I think that was the biggest reason he felt that Fresno was the right fit for him.”

Knight has also worked with his senior during the summer and says, “Brandon worked on his shot release and quickness getting his shot off. He also worked on his ball handling skills to better prepare him for his role as both shooting and lead guard. I have witnessed him get stronger, be more athletic and defend better. These were his focuses when we had our end of the year meetings after the season. Brandon really took a step forward in all of the categories we asked him to.”

It was a full family vetting process as Lawrence explained. “My parents did the research on the schools I was considering and I explored the basketball side. I feel excited with a little bit of relief.”

What was also beneficial in getting to yes is that Fresno State has three senior guards, the top scoring trio on the squad, who will be departing after this coming season.

So what will Bulldog fans be seeing from Lawrence? “I'll bring energy, be a good teammate and do everything coach asks me to do. I can knock down shots and also create.”

As for a major, it's between civil engineering, philosophy and a new possibility, music technology. Eligibility should be no issue as Lawrence sports a 3.8 grade point average.

But before college, Lawrence still has his senior year with Moreau Catholic to complete. Knight sees these areas of improvement needed. “I think the remaining things he needs to work on, and what we will address this pre-season and season are his strength and speed. For him to be a major contributor right away, Brandon will need to really focus on building his body and his strength. I think this will help him with preventing nagging injures and allow him to go up against bigger shooting guards and wings. Brandon is working on his lateral quickness and his quick-twitch motor reflexes. This will allow him to guard smaller and faster point guards but still have the explosiveness and athleticism that he already possesses.”

Lawrence is coming off a season where he averaged 10.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.9 steals each Moreau Mariner contest alongside at least three other teammates who will also go D1.

Moreau finished 14-0 in the Mission Valley Athletic League in 2014-15 and 23-7 overall. Coming off hosting a high school tournament this past weekend, Lawrence offered, “we're looking really good, everything's clicking.”

Lawrence wished to thank “first of all God, my parents who have always been there for me, Coach Knight who made me a better player and Oakland Rebels Coach Ray Young who motivated me and pushed me.”