As a freshman at the University of Memphis in 2016-17, he averaged 12.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 33.7 minutes per game. Lawson is an effective defender, though he would need to rediscover his shooting to get a starter’s role at Arkansas.
Another benefit: His ties to his hometown of Memphis. That was a fertile recruiting ground for former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson, but has been on relative lockdown since the arrival of Penny Hardaway as the head coach at Memphis. It also doesn’t help that Arkansas-Memphis basketball games are no longer scheduled on an annual basis.
KJ Lawson has been in contact with Arkansas coaches, but his first visit has been scheduled to Tulane. (UPDATE: As of May 13, KJ has committed to Tulane.) According to a Twitter post by Chuck Lawson, founder of 901prepscoop.com, other schools that have reached out to K.J. include Oregon, Boston College, San Diego State, Nebraska, Georgia State, Butler, SMU, Tennessee State, South Alabama and UAB. He will have two years of eligibility remaining.
UPDATE: Johnson announced he’s staying at Nevada for his senior season after Steve Alford was tabbed as the Wolf Pack’s new head coach]
Johnson, a senior-to-be, stands only 5’10”.
If he follows Musselman to Arkansas, he would likely team with 5’11” Justice Hill in 2020-2021 (after sitting out next season) to give Arkansas two dynamic diminutive playmakers.
Jazz Johnson’s elite shooting, meanwhile, would help Musselman’s offense sing. He attempted nearly five three pointers a game in 2018-2019, hitting a team-leading 45.2% of them.
The closest NBA comparison, both in game and hair, may be Patty Mills. In fact, Johnson originally played in the same college conference where Mills made his mark at St. Mary’s.
Before he transferred to Nevada, Johnson starred for Portland of the West Coast Conference. He averaged 15.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists, as a sophomore season, shooting 44.4 percent overall and 41.5 percent on 3-point attempts. He made 82.3 percent of his 130 free throw attempts, and two of his best games for national ranked opponents — posting game highs with 25 versus UCLA and 26 against St. Mary’s.
Watch the below footage from Jazz Johnson’s Portland days and experience some Charles Tatum/Jannero Pargo flashbacks.
[UPDATE: Jalen Harris has re-committed to playing for the Wolfpack]
Jalen Harris, an athletic 6-5 shooting guard/wing, came to Nevada last summer after great two seasons at Louisiana Tech. In his sophomore year there, he averaged a team-high 15.3 points and 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game.
Harris sat out all of 2018-19 because of transfer rules. Still, the junior-to-be’s effort and abilties made him a big part of the team. “Jalen Harris is as important as anyone in uniform,” Eric Musselman told The Ringer. “We have gotta do everything we can to work with him this year. Pre-practice, post-practice, his days with games, he’s not just going to come to shoot around and relax. You’re going to have another hour of hard work ahead of him from a skill-development standpoint. We take it really seriously, and that’s why guys have wanted to come here.”
It’s too early to tell if Jalen Harris would become an Arkansas basketball transfer. He may end up in Texas, given he’s a Dallas native. It’s also unknown whether he would have to sit out a second consecutive season or if he would be granted a waiver that will allow him to play in 2019-2020.
At Arkansas, he would form a tantalizingly potent core of wing players with Isaiah Joe and Mason Jones. Plus, all of Arkansas would enjoy the sheer weirdness of having two Jalen Harrises on its squad.
Regardless of what Johnson and Harris decide, Eric Musselman more critically needs to snag bruising, rebound-hungry power forwards and centers as Arkansas basketball transfers. They may also come through the JUCO pipeline. But that’s an ongoing search and story for another time.
UPDATE: It appears Arkansas is out of the running for Nevada’s most talented freshman, Jordan Brown, who added his name to the transfer portal. A 6’11” five-star and former McDonald’s All-American, he did not get much burn last season under Musselman (who, like Mike Anderson, prefers older players.)
Though slight of frame, Jordan Brown projects to add significant muscle and skill by the time he hits the court for his sophomore season. There’s little question a player of his abilities and length would be more than welcome on the Razorback roster:
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: JUCO stud Eric Parrish, a 6-6 wing at Bossier Parish (LA) Community College, requested a release from his 2019 national letter of intent that he signed with the Wolf Pack in November. Parrish is 247Sports.com’s No. 4 nationally ranked prospect among junior college players. But he’s now re-committed to the Wolfpack.
Before Bossier Parish, Parrish actually began his college career at Akron, where he averaged 8.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 27 minutes per game. From the field he shot 51.7 percent, 32.4 percent from behind the arc and 62.1 percent at the free throw line.
“We are extremely excited to add Eric Parrish to our program,” Mussleman said as Nevada’s coach in a November press statement. “At 6-6 and the ability to play and guard multiple positions, he fits perfect with our style of play of position-less basketball. He has an extremely athletic first step and is explosive off the bounce with the basketball. We feel he is the type of player that can fill up the stat sheet in multiple areas and affect the game in a variety of ways. He will be a player that Wolf Pack fans love to watch with his energy.”
This kid’s offensive game is nice. Check his step-back jumper at :45 for evidence.
UPDATE, AGAIN: Another potential transfer — Haanif Cheatham, a 6-5, 195-pound guard out of Florida Gulf Coast — committed to Nebraska. He also received interest from Houston, Maryland and New Mexico, according to 247Sports.com.
Last season, Cheatham averaged 13.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists before a bothersome shoulder issue sidelined him after just 10 games, the news site reported. “He now has an extra year of eligibility and only played in five games as a junior for Marquette before leaving that program after averaging 8.2 points and 2.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 26.2 minutes per game.”
He told Kevin McPherson that he’ll most likely visit Arkansas May 3-5. Aside from the Hogs, he’s also considering Cincinnati and Nebraska.
Jaire Grayer (6-5 guard, George Mason)
UPDATE: Jaire Grayer’s committed to TCU.
In parts of four seasons total at George Mason, Grayer averaged a combined 11.0 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 35% from 3. He injured his foot seven games into his senior year, which allowed him to get a medical redshirt and an extra year of eligibility.
“His dad Jeff Grayer was a NBA journyman from the late 80’s to the late 90’s. So a young man that comes from a pedigree of basketball,” Kevin McPherson told Pig Trail Nation. “This could be number two off the board. We will see what happens there. Because he makes it to campus. He has told me he doesn’t have any other visits set up right now. So Arkansas may be the program that he is focusing on at this time.”
UPDATE: Grayer took an official visit to Arkansas on May 12-14. “It went great,” Grayer told McPherson. “My parents went with me. The school as a whole was amazing. I’m going to sit down with my family and discuss the visit with them. And I’m not 100% sure on when I’ll make a decision.”
Grayer added: “I’m not 100% sure on other visits, but I’ve been talking to TCU, Illinois, and Nevada so far about visits.”
Khadim Sy (6-10, 245, forward / center
Well this guy sure could address some weaknesses.
UPDATE: And it looks like he’ll do it for Ole Miss, to which he just committed. Considered one of the top five JUCO transfers in the nation, Big Sy originally started his college career in 2016-17 at Virginia Tech after playing at Oak Hill. He averaged 4.0 points and 2.7 rebounds while shooting 56.7% field goals in 32 games.
Then he went to Daytona State College in Florida and did some serious work. In 2018-19, he averaged 16.8 points and 9.8 rebounds while shooting 55.1% from the field and 67.9% free throws as a redshirt sophomore.
Sy whittled his top five schools down to Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh and East Carolina. On April 21, McPherson said: “”He is going to visit Ole Miss this coming week on Tuesday I am told. LSU is in the mix. Arkansas and then he already visited East Carolina and Pitt. He is a top 5 juco player. 6-10, 245. Can actually step out and hit a three. He started at Virginia Tech a couple of years ago… So he’ll have two years to play two at the Division One Level.”
UPDATE: Sy is expected to be in Fayetteville on one of the first two weekends in May. He plans to make a final decision sometime in mid-May, per Danny West.
It’s clear from the highlights below that while he’s still unpolished, he would be a much needed interior force and true center for the Hogs next year. He would have two years of eligibility.
Jahaad Proctor (6-3 guard from High Point)
UPDATE: This dude, who started his college career at Iona, would have been a nice addition for a number of teams. He committed to Purdue, however.
At High Point, a mid-major, Proctor averaged 19.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.3 steals this past season while shooting 46.4% field goals, including 33.1% on three pointers. And he gave this boffo performance:
Proctor would likely be hard-pressed to get playing time against the likes of Desi Sills, Jalen Harris and Justice Hill, but his presence would add a tremendous amount of competition at the guard position — which is ultimately good for all players.
Jahaad Proctor will visit the UA on May 3-5, Kevin McPherson reports. He will also visit Purdue on April-26. It appears Proctor is also being looked at by West Virginia, Wichita State, Stanford, and Virginia Tech.
UPDATE: As mentioned above, Jeantal Cylla became Eric Musselman’s first graduate transfers to officially commit on April 20. Watch the below video for extra insight into why he chose Arkansas — and updates on other potential transfers mentioned here — from Razorback insiders Trey Biddy and Danny West:
Before Cylla signed withe Hogs as a grad transfer, McPherson was one of the first reporters to report about the 6-7 forward from North Carolina-Wilmington as a transfer possibility. McPherson reported he was set to take his official visit to Arkansas on the weekend April 19-21. Cylla, who played two seasons at Florida Atlantic before transferring to UNCW, averaged 13.7 points and 4.6 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game while shooting 42.7% field goals (including 31.1% from 3 while averaging one make per game from distance) and 84.8% free throws.
Cylla will have one year of immediate playing eligibility once he transfers. Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Oregon State are the high-major programs who were reportedly interested in him.
Oh, and as you can see below this guy’s vertical is just plain silla (sorry — couldn’t help myself):