By R. Alan Richardson
Former Morgan County basketball superstar and four-star recruit Tyrin (Spank) Lawrence has recently decided to take his talents on the hardwood to Vanderbilt University. The 6-4, 170 pound combo guard finished out his high school career by simply being one of the very best in history to don the red and black uniform. The 2019 squad brought home a State Championship and he was named as the AAA Player-of-the-Year joining Tookie Brown and Jailyn Ingram as the only three MCHS players to have garnered that prestigious award (to my knowledge).
Lawrence opted to go to highly-regarded prep school Sunrise Christian in Bel Aire, Kansas after graduating from MOCO to hone his skills even though he had offers from Kansas State and other Division I schools at the time. He wanted to play closer to home so his family could watch him play more. This year he had an offer from one of the top programs and coaches in the country in Gonzaga and Mark Few. That’s about as far from Madison as you can get in the US so he turned it down.
The high-flying highlight reel player who swooned Bulldog fans for three years is going to make a lot of Commodore fans and coaches happy too.
Billed as one of the country’s top unsigned and uncommitted players in the land, he chose Vandy over California and Ole Miss. Heres why.
Lawrence wrote an exclusive blog for SI All-American breaking down why he chose the Commodores.
“What’s up world, this is Tyrin Lawrence and I’m happy to say that I’m officially committed to Vanderbilt University.
It’s been a long process and I want to thank everyone who has been a part of it. I picked Vanderbilt over California and Ole Miss.
Just getting to know Coach (Jerry) Stackhouse helped me to see that Vanderbilt was the place for me. The pros for going there outweighed everything else and it’s a place where I could really see myself taking my game to another level.
Being able to play for Coach Stackhouse definitely played into my decision; he’s a guy that played a long time at the level we’re all trying to get to. He knows what it takes and I feel like I can really relate to him.
Also, the fact that my family will be able to come see all of my games because it’s close to home played a big part in my decision.
With the whole pandemic going on and seeing the unfortunate passing of Kobe Bryant in January really has me thinking more and more about the importance of family.
When I told the coaches that I was coming there, they were all really excited.
I can’t wait to get to campus because I’ve never been there before.
Most people probably don’t know that, but with the virus stopping all travel I wasn’t able to get to campus, so they took me on a virtual tour through Zoom.
I did one with California too.
It was pretty cool; I got to see everything they had there. It definitely wasn’t the same as being there in person, but that’s where we’re at with everything going on.
I talked to people who go there and they all really love it.
They want me to come in and be ready to play the one or two. They’re going to play to my strengths and put me in positions to be successful.
I feel like I’ll be able to come in and make an immediate impact.
I don’t know how we’ll celebrate my commitment today; I think my Mom may make me a cake!
I want to take a second to honor my dad Ivan Lawrence, he passed June 1, 2018, but he was the one who really pushed me and helped me to be the player I am today.
I want to dedicate this commitment to him. I know he would be very proud of me!
OK guys, well that’s all I’ve got; I’m gonna get out of here now, but I appreciate you reading this blog, and again I’m just happy to be a part of Commodore Nation!”
His MCHS Coach Jamond Sims had this to say about his all-star, “Honestly, Vanderbilt was likely the best possible fit for him. To me, it checked off the boxes: quality education, close proximity, competition, and style of play. Having the opportunity to learn from a Jerry Stackhouse is an added bonus. Tyrin will do well at his next school, as he is a unique individual. His academic ability is equal to his athleticism.”
Joseph Rogers, a former basketball State Champion with the Bulldogs under Charlemagne Gibbons now serves as an assistant coach for Sunrise Christian’s post-graduate team. He told the Citizen, “First of all I’m extremely proud of Tyrin. He really allowed us to push him daily and grow not only as a player but also as a person. He showed up to the gym almost every morning at 6:30 a.m. to workout and got an extra lift in each night. He has earned the right to get a chance to play in the SEC and I can’t wait to see what all he accomplishes at Vanderbilt over the next few years.”
His mother, Valencia Clark was ecstatic, She told us, “I am beyond proud of him. I’ve always told him that if he worked hard that he would be rewarded in the end. As you know it hasn’t been easy for him. When his dad died he wanted to give up on basketball but I told him that his dad wouldn’t want that and he would be with him every step of the way! I am honored to be his Mom! His dreams have come true and I’m still pinching myself to make sure this is real. I really appreciate all the love you and Morgan County have shown us. I hope you continue to follow him throughout his college journey and even come to the game when they play Georgia. I’m so excited about his future!”