University of Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin announced Wednesday the addition of 6-9, 200-pound forward Jermaine Lawrence who has signed a national letter of intent to attend UC and play basketball for the Bearcats.
Lawrence, a native of Springfield Gardens, N.Y., ranks among the nation's top overall prospects according to multiple recruiting services, including Scout.com (19th), 247Sports.com (23rd), ESPN.com (25th) and Rivals.com (26th). He was tabbed a five-star prospect by Scout.com, Rivals.com and 247Sports.com. ESPN.com also lists Lawrence as the No. 2 overall prospect from New York.
Lawrence averaged 18.8 points, 13.0 rebounds and 6.4 blocks during his junior season (2011-12) at Pope John Paul XXIII High School in Sparta, N.J. He registered seven double-doubles and two triple-doubles, including 25 points, 15 rebounds and 15 blocks in the county championship game.
During an injury-shortened 2012-13 campaign, Lawrence averaged 13.3 points and 7.5 rebounds with two double-doubles in 11 games.
"We are very excited that Jermaine has decided to attend the University of Cincinnati," Cronin said. "Not only is Jermaine a very talented basketball player, he is a great young man who comes from a wonderful family. Jermaine is a multi-dimensional player that can affect the game in many ways whether it be scoring, passing, defense or shot-blocking; he can truly do it all. At 6-9, he is a guy that can defend and play three positions on the court. That excites me as a coach. Jermaine has had a tough year due to a wrist injury but is finally back to 100 percent and we look forward to him joining us this summer as we prepare for next season."
Lawrence becomes the fifth member of UC's 2013-14 signing class currently ranked at No. 18 by Scout.com and listed 24th by ESPN.com. Lawrence joins four recruits who signed in the fall: 6-3, 180-pound guard Troy Caupain (pronounced Co-PAIN) from New York along with 6-2, 175-pound guard Kevin Johnson from Cincinnati; 6-3, 190-pound guard Deshaun Morman from Richmond, Va.; and 6-10, 230-pound center Jamaree Strickland from Oakland, Calif. Along with Lawrence, Johnson (No. 117) and Morman (No. 132) are listed among the Top 150 prospects nationally by Rivals.com.
"My staff has done a tremendous job recruiting this year," Cronin said. "This is the best class that we have signed at Cincinnati, one through five, in a very long time. We have added not only talent to our roster, but high-level people as well. I am extremely pleased and I want our fans to know these young men are going to be a huge addition to our program."