Memphis' New Asst. Coach Impacts NCAA Basketball Odds

David Lawrence

Friday, July 18, 2014 4:13 PM UTC

Friday, Jul. 18, 2014 4:13 PM UTC

Offseason news impacts the betting odds for better or for worse, especially when it has to do with new coaches. This report shines light on the impact on College Basketball bets on Memphis Tigers.

There is more news to talk about in the American Athletic Conference this week. While SMU hit the headlines on Monday when Emmanuel Mudiay withdrawing from the program to play pro ball overseas, now Memphis is in the news for a different reason. The Tigers’ head coach, Josh Pastner, made a pre-emptive move to try to secure the services of future recruits. It’s the kind of move that turns heads in college basketball but is there something more to the story?


Is The Move Fishy?
The hiring of an assistant coach to lure recruits is something that certainly creates a lot of frustration and skepticism from other coaches and athletic directors – not to mention fans and those placing College Basketball picks. The hiring of Keelon Lawson by Memphis coach Pastner is a move that’s clearly designed to gain more recruits for the Tigers. One of Lawson’s sons, K.J., has already decided to play at Memphis but Pastner wanted to get Dedric Lawson for the Class of 2016 and Chandler Lawson for the Class of 2019. There’s another Lawson, Jonathan, who is viewed as a player with a lot of potential once he enters high school. Pastner is playing the long game. This is something which creates eye rolls but if Lawson turns out to be a good assistant coach and not just a placeholder intended to get recruits, the move will work out.

What is more curious about this move is that the Lawson family is related to Memphis assistant coach Robert Kirby. Having a group of assistant coaches this closely tied together makes Memphis seem like a program whose coaches are together because of a marriage of convenience and not pure coaching quality. The move could backfire but other schools have done this sort of thing in the past. It doesn’t happen all the time but it happens often enough to get noticed, so this is not unprecedented.


Will This Affect Memphis Next Season?
Sharp bettors making sports picks will be glad to know that this move affects the Tigers next season only to the extent that Keelon Lawson will be on the Tigers’ bench and will have to begin to prove himself as someone worthy of the assistant coaching position. If he’s not, the move could unravel and the larger plan in Pastner’s mind might not work out in the end. Lawson will face a lot of pressure in general but that pressure comes from the natural skepticism that’s going to greet this move (and already has).

The Tigers are at 100/1 College Basketball betting odds to win the NCAA Championship next season and nothing that happened this week will change that.


Will This Affect Memphis In Future Seasons?
This decision by Pastner is clearly meant to gain more Lawsons for the Tigers in the next several years. The obvious dream scenario for the Tigers is that they get the very best from Keelon Lawson and become a better team in the short run as a result. That success will then multiply when K.J. Lawson enters the program. That success will be compounded even more when Dedric Lawson joins the program. The Lawson family will continue to associate itself with Memphis, all while the Tigers improve as a program. If Keelon Lawson fails this next season, though, the ripple effect on future seasons won’t be nearly as pronounced.

The bottom line is it’s a lot of ifs and whens further down the road. The Tigers have been scrambling to get back to relevance since John Calipari left and while these moves might affect their odds in future years, it doesn’t change much for them right now.

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