Former Texas Southern guard A.J. Lawson is all about networking, especially if it will further his goals to continue his basketball career.
Lawson, who recently wrapped up his playing eligibility with the Tigers after their first-round loss to Kansas during the NCAA Tournament, is playing in the 2022 Dos Equis 3X3U National Championship this weekend. In participating in the tournament that will be played against the backdrop of this weekend’s Men’s Final Four in New Orleans, Lawson hopes to be networking with people and impressing the right basketball executives who can keep his career going overseas.
“I knew about it,” Lawson said of the 3-on-3 tournament that is played annually in the same city as the Final Four. “I know a lot of guys from the Houston area who have played in it as well. I just think it would be an experience for me just to meet a couple of other guys. Also, just to get a little bit more exposure at the end of my college career.”
Lawson, who is from Bryan and just concluded his final season at TSU as a graduate student, has spent the week in New Orleans, preparing and learning the nuances of the 3-on-3. In between, he has gotten to know many of the players he will be playing with and against, along with the coaches and pro players who are working with the participants.
Lawson, a 6-foot-5 guard, is one of our players who will play on the MEAC/SWAC squad called HBC-U Don’t Want None squad.
“Just getting opinions of other people, just hearing their stories,” said Lawson, who averaged 6.1 points and 3.4 rebounds while starting 15 of 29 games he played in with the Tigers this past season. “A lot of the coaches here have played overseas, a lot of people I’m going to meet are agents or are professional athletes already so getting different perspectives on different countries because you never know where you are going to end up. It’s just a great experience and I just love it because it’s going to help me in the end. I’m a learner and I listen.
“It’s kind of how the world works these days, it’s about the connections and who you know and how well of a person you are.”
The 3-on-3 tournament consists of 64 players who have been selected to begin their professional careers. The teams are competing for a share of $150,000, which is one of the largest prizes at any FIBA 3×3 sanctioned event.
All of the 16 teams will each squad in their respective pool on Friday and Saturday before they all head to the knockout stage on Sunday. The games can be watched on Twitter and on ESPN networks.
Lawson is definitely enjoying the experience.
“Right now we are just learning how to play 3-on-3 basketball because it’s kind of different than doing the 5-on-5 thing,” he said. “It’s a lot quicker so we are just learning the right way to play, the right way to defend and communicate, just getting in the flow of everything.”