August 27, 2012

Jermaine Lawrence still has 7 schools on his list

For the top prospects in the country, making a college decision can be an overwhelming situation. The pressure to please everyone, the constant questions on where you'll be headed and the distractions that can slow down your development are all issues that face the modern player.

For Jermaine Lawrence that pressure hit a boiling point before he was even close to make a decision. Over the weekend the five-star forward cut his list of schools to seven, and now feels a great sense of relief since doing so.

"Cutting my list to just seven was a stressful process," Lawrence told Cats Illustrated, "There's no real way to know that a college is 100% the right fit for you, and it's such an important decision in determining your future, so it really stressed me out at several times.

"At the end of the day I think that those seven schools give me the best chance to be successful and lead me towards the future that I have envisioned for myself."

Via Twitter, Lawrence named Kentucky, UCLA, Kansas, St. Johns, Cincinnati, Syracuse and UNLV as his seven finalists; while also mentioning that all seven schools stood on level ground in his mind.

A 6-foot-9 combo forward who was one of the fastest risers in the Rivals rankings, Lawrence currently holds the no. 19 spot in the 2013 Rivals150, the Sparta (N.J.) Pope John XXIII senior is blessed with great coordination for his size.

Lawrence has the athleticism, height and length of a prototypical power forward at the college level, but is developing a skill-set that might suit him better for the small forward position. He's one of those versatile athletes that Kentucky coach John Calipari loves to recruit; just like Terrence Jones and Alex Poythress.

"The schools that I'm still interested in are saying that they're recruiting me as a small forward," said Lawrence, "I think that the three is my best position but I understand if they put me down low as well. I'm tall, I'm long I do a lot of things on the floor so I can play either spot. I'd rather be on the court then on the bench complaining about a position."

Looking back to his seven finalists, there is not a ton of things in common with the schools on the list. There are west coast schools, east coast schools, programs from the south and even one team that does not play in a traditional "big six" conference.
With his final decision being held off into the spring, Lawrence is still trying to decide exactly what he is looking for in a school.

"Mainly, I want to be comfortable with the coaching staff," Lawrence said, "I know that I want to play in an up-tempo style because that fits my game; and I'd love to play in a historically intense home environment."

Kentucky can certainly offer those things to Lawrence if the Wildcats staff decides to pursue the five-star Lawrence; but as of now UK is the only one of the seven finalists who has not extended a scholarship offer to Lawrence. The New Jersey forward says that he is hoping to receive a Kentucky offer soon and is even more anxious to see if the Wildcats will try to bring him down in the next couple of months for an official visit.

"Kentucky is a place where they're going to consistently win championships," Lawrence said of the program, "If I were to go there then I know I'd be in a situation where I can develop to the point that I could hopefully make the NBA, and I know that with all the winning that we'd do there would be a ton of exposure."

"My only possible negative to going to Kentucky is that I'm looking for a place where I can earn an early spot as an impact guy. I'm not sure if that's what the UK staff wants from me right now. If Kentucky becomes a school that was offering me a scholarship and a chance to get some early minutes then they would jump up quickly on my list; as of now I still have to see if they're the best fit for me."

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