Lawson enters transfer portal, becomes fourth Cowboy to leave program

Jim Gazzolo, Special to the American Press

Ten days ago McNeese State’s crazy basketball season ended with three consecutive losses and a 10-14 record.

Since then there was a coaching change and now a fourth player has elected to finish his career elsewhere.

Welcome to the world of the NCAA transfer portal.

Senior guard A.J. Lawson made the announcement Wednesday on social media.

“McNeese Family, These past two years have been a roller coaster from hurricanes to winter storms, it’s crazy how we’ve managed to bounce back from it all,” Lawson posted. “I never would have thought I would be where I am today, but the world tends to put us in places we never dreamt of.

“I would like to thank Heath Schroyer and John Aiken for taking a chance on a kid who lost his way and helped me grow as a man on and off the court. I have decided I am ready for the next chapter of my life, and I’ll be entering my name in the transfer portal as a grad transfer.

“Thank you, McNeese.”

Lawson was a two-year starter for the Cowboys after transferring from North Texas. He was a second-team all-Southland Conference preseason selection this season.

Lawson joins Dru Kuxhausen, Jeremy Harrell and Ra’Shawn Langston as players who were awarded an extra season of extra eligibility by NCAA as a result of losing the 2019 season to COVID-19 and will play elsewhere as graduated seniors.

Lawson’s scoring was down this season from 15.2 points per game to 11.8 in 2019-20, but his other numbers — field goal percentage (+.08), rebounds (+1.4), assists (+1.4) and turnovers (-.5) — improved.

“It was a very hard year,” Lawson said as the season was winding down. “So much has happened. It was hard to get to know the guys and really hard to keep focused.”

Lawson played point guard and swingman this season, leading the Cowboys in assists with 5.5 a game. But he seemed to take a step back when it came to consistency.

It did not come as a surprise to either former coach-turned Athletic Director Schroyer or assistant-turned head coach Aiken.

“We expected this,” Schroyer said. “I’m proud nobody opted out this year or quit during the season. That says a lot to me with all that was going on.”

As for Aiken, he said he understands a lot has changed since these players signed with McNeese.

“None of them signed up for this, so I get it,” he said. “We wish them well and move forward.”

The Cowboys have three more seniors on their roster and are down to 12 from their last game on March 9.McNeese State’s A.J. Lawson shoots over Central Arkansas’ Jaxson Baker at McNeese H&HP Complex in Lake Charles, Louisiana on Saturday, February 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Lake Charles American Press, Kirk Meche)

Kirk Meche / Special to the American Press

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