By SEVE COUSINS
Special to ZAGSBLOG
SPARTA, N.J. — It’s Saturday night in this small town and 6-foot-10 Jermaine Lawrence can be easily recognized walking into the gym at Pope John XIII High School for the first annual Living Hope Festival to Benefit Cancer Research.
Lawrence walks over to join his teammates, shaking hands with students and faculty as if he were a politician.
Eventually, the Pope John players head into the locker room, leaving Lawrence in the stands by himself.
Lawrence has yet to play a game this season after undergoing surgery on his hand and could miss another two weeks. He sat in street clothes as his team lost to New Haven (Conn.) James Hillhouse High, 56-51.
“It’s been hard,” Lawrence told SNY.tv during an exclusive interview before the game.
“I’ve been sitting out since September. It’s been real nerve-racking not knowing what’s going to happen, but it’s been good to watch my team really compete against highly-rated teams.”
The forward from Springfield Gardens, N,Y. is one of the most talented players left on the board, along with Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon, all of whom will sign sometime after April 17.
Lawrence is considering St. Johns, Cincinnati and UNLV. Having already taken official visits to Cincinnati and UNLV, Lawrence will take one last visit to St. John’s sometime soon. No date has been set but sometime soon after the visit he plans on making a decision in February.
“St. John’s is close by home, the coaching staff is cool,” he said. “I like their style of play. They get up and down and their power forwards have freedom.”
On UNLV: “UNLV. they get up and down and play at a fast pace. The coaches are cool, the weather is nice and they have great support from their fans.”
On Cincinnati: “Cincinnati, the coaching staff is real cool. They’ve been keeping in touch with me since my sophomore year. I like the way they use their forwards and they’re a tough team. There’s nothing better than playing with a tough team.”