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Keelon Lawson is being 'strongly considered' for opening at Memphis

Keelon Lawson is being "strongly considered" for the opening on Josh Pastner's staff at Memphis, and Pastner is "leaning" toward offering a job to the Hamilton High coach who doubles as the father of three elite recruits, a source told CBSSports.com on Tuesday.

No announcement is imminent.

But the source said Pastner has talked with Lawson -- "He's talked to a lot of candidates, including Keelon," the source added -- and that Pastner will likely go that route when he ultimately fills the vacancy created by Jason Gardner leaving to be the head coach at IUPUI.

CBSSports.com reported last week that Lawson, 44, was approached earlier this month by a high-major program outside of Memphis about becoming a college assistant, and Lawson has told CBSSports.com that he's suddenly interested in making the jump, either to Memphis or somewhere else. What makes this story more interesting than it would otherwise be is the fact that Lawson -- a former college player who has won a state championship as a coach at Hamilton High in Memphis -- is the father of K.J. Lawson, Dedric Lawson and Chandler Lawson, all of whom are possible future McDonald's All-Americans. K.J. Lawson, a 6-foot-7 wing, is ranked No. 32 nationally in the Class of 2015 by 247Sports. Dedric Lawson, a 6-9 forward, is ranked No. 5 nationally in the Class of 2016 by 247Sports. Chandler Lawson, a 6-6 wing, is ranked No. 1 nationally in the Class of 2019 by Future150.com.

K.J. Lawson, it should be noted, is already committed to Memphis

But Keelon Lawson made it clear last week that if he were to get a job at a college outside of Memphis, then K.J. Lawson would almost certainly decommit and follow him to that school. "With loyalty to Josh, I would ask K.J., 'Would you want to stay [with Memphis] or would you want to go with me and Dedric?'" Keelon Lawson said. "But with us being a close-knit family, you know what the answer would be. He would say, 'Dad, I'm going with you.' So, of course, K.J. would go with me, and then Dedric, and then Chandler."

Simply put, Pastner recognizes the reality of the situation and stakes involved, and a source told CBSSports.com that the idea of another school hiring Keelon Lawson and essentially lifting three elite prospects out of Memphis is not something Pastner is anxious to risk.

"The only way to guarantee another school doesn't hire Keelon is for Memphis to hire Keelon," a source said. "So that's probably what's going to happen."


Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for CBSSports.com and frequent contributor to the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts the highest-rated sports talk radio show -- The Gary Parrish Show -- in the history of Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two children and a dog.
 
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