Young but talented sports teams always have the urgency to fulfill the team's potential now rather than later. For the Moreau Catholic Mariners, the program has a roster of talented underclassmen as they start four sophomores and one freshman.
One of those talented sophomores is 6-foot-3 and 165 pound shooting guard, Brandon Lawrence. Lawrence was thrown into the starting lineup as a freshman when the Mariners went 18-10 that ended with a second round North Coast Section playoff loss to Salesian. As the team's main perimeter threat, Lawrence is averaging 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists during the current season as the Mariners are 10-4.
Moreau Catholic Coach Frank Knight has been coaching at the high school level for fifteen years while at Moreau Catholic for four years. Coach Knight comments about what Lawrence has done well for the team, " Brandon's strengths are in his offensive game. He is a really good shooter and his stroke is effortless and the same every time he shoots it. He has added a two-to-three dribble pull up that really keeps the defender of balance. Because of his ability to hit shots from 21feet, defenders close hard to him, and he is able to lift them with his shot fake, and knock down 15-18 footers off of the bounce. Defensively, he is long and this allows him to defend bigger players."
Lawrence plays a finesse game as he models his game after Stephen Curry and Deron Williams. He feels that both of those players are great shooters, have solid ball handling skills, and can break defenders down to create open shots. Also, their leadership skills are effective even though not reflected on the stat sheets.
Coach Knight confirms this by saying, "I compare Brandon to a Allen Houston. Silky, smooth release. Consistent shot form. He has a flow to his game that is natural. Brandon is now rebounding better and taking pride in hitting the glass. Being a sophomore and a returning varsity player, his leadership skills are starting to blossom. Brandon wants to compete and puts his all on the floor. "
During the offseason, Lawrence works on all aspects of his game. In addition, he has been playing for the Oakland Soldiers 15U team during the summer. He hopes that those efforts will help the Mariners to a state title run.
In addition to Lawrence, Moreau Catholic features fellow sophomore Oscar Frayer and freshman Damari Milstead. As a result, many college recruiters will have the opportunity to view the Mariner team. The recruiting process is early for Lawrence but he likes the style of play of the west coast schools. He currently has a 3.40 GPA and plans on majoring in Engineering in college.
Lawrence intrigues the college level as Air Force, Creighton, Nevada, New Mexico State, Pepperdine, San Francisco, Santa Clara, and Washington State have contacted Coach Knight. Coach Knight has this take on his college potential, "I think Brandon is a lock at playing at the D-1 level. Will it be high, mid, or low major will depend on his development and how much he grows. If he gets to 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-5, then he can play mid to high because of his developed basketball skills. Either way, he will be a good pick up because of the range of things he can do defensively and offensively. He has a huge upside and will only get better as he matures and grows into his frame."
Moreau Catholic joined the Mission Valley Athletic League last season as Newark Memorial has consistently dominated league play. A big step for this Mariner program would be to dethrone the league favorites with the help from Lawrence. Watch for Lawrence to navigate the Mariners through the MVAL in Hayward, Calif.