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K.J. Lawson rips Tubby Smith in recorded video


Joe Murphy

Kansas transfer K.J. Lawson, who recently announced he would leave the Memphis program along with his brother, Dedric, was recorded on video in which he directed an expletive at Tubby Smith, his former head coach.

The video (available here), which surfaced on Snapchat, has K.J. saying 11 words, and it isn’t difficult to make out what the final two words were.

Both Lawson brothers came to Memphis after ex-head coach Josh Pastner hired their father, Keelon, as an assistant coach. Keelon was a wildly successful high school basketball coach in the city. He was also the father of four highly-touted prospects.

Once Pastner left, Tubby Smith was hired and brought all three of his assistants from Texas Tech with him. He ended up demoting Keelon Lawson to an administrative role as the director of player development.

The Tigers went 19-13 (9-9 in the American) this past season. Dedric, a sophomore, was the team’s leading scorer and rebounder at 19.2 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. K.J., a freshman, was third in scoring at 12.3 points per game. Both transferred to Kansas earlier this week. They will both sit a year due to NCAA transfer regulations before beginning their careers at Jayhawks in the 2018-19 season.

Ten days removed from the national championship game and Memphis is looking at a complete roster overhaul as six players have already left the program. The latest was Markel Crawford, the Tigers’ second-leading scorer, and most experienced player. Smith will justifiably face criticism for the mass exodus that has unfolded after one year on the bench but K.J. Lawson’s behavior in that four-second clip has temporarily taken some of the heat off him.