Through AAU tournaments and high school games, Lakewood coach Anthony Lawrence Sr. has coached his son, Anthony Lawrence Jr. since he was 3.
So it was understandable the elder Lawrence became emotional watching his son ofiicially end the recruiting process by signing with Miami. During a ceremony in the school’s Center for Advanced Technology, the Spartans pulled out all the stops with childhood photos, balloons, slide shows, even a performance by the band.
Attending Lawrence signing ceremony was Gibbs’ guard Barry Brown, who signed earlier in the day with Kansas State. The two have been childhood friends and are now both Division I commits. Barry Brown Sr., the principal at John Hopkins Middle School, spoke about his son and Lawrence Jr. each had a plan to become bonafide basketball stars and play at major colleges.
Lawrence Sr. also spoke, tissue in hand, as he tried to hold back tears.
“I’m trying to hold back the tears,” Lawrence Sr. said. “Today, I’m not a basketball coach. I’m more of a dad. And a proud one at that.”
The Lawrence family already had strong ties with the Hurricanes. Lawrence Sr., played for Miami from 1991-93. Lawrence Jr.’s uncle, Pat, also was a Hurricane from 1991-94. Pat came drove from Miami to attend the cermony.
In October of 2014, Lawrence Jr. committed to UCF. A month later, he backed out of it, saying at the time he had nothing to compare it to as far as his recruiting went. Interest picked up immediately in the 6-foot-7 junior guard, with coaches from Clemson, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Louisiana Tech, Miami and Texas A&M calling the day he decided to decommit.
The Hurricanes offered soon after and Lawrence Jr. said he had decided that’s where he wanted to go earlier this year.
“I pretty much knew I wanted to be a Hurricane,” Lawrence Jr. said. “I grew up in a Miami household. It’s a great day, an exciting day to see this happen. For myself and Barry, this is what we’ve always dreamed about.”
This past season, Lawrence Jr. averaged 21 points per game and led the Spartans to the Class 5A state championship game. He has scored more than 1,400 points in his career and should become Lakewood’s all-time leading scorer this season.