Dawson Deadly With Double-Doubles

Whether you catch him with Lew Wallace High or the SYF Players, the results are usually the same: double-double. Branden Dawson's big junior season has the attention of many national programs.

Last summer, Gary (Ind.) Lew Wallace star Branden Dawson carved out a reputation for being tough on the glass. Since then, he's been tough on opponents, averaging 26 points and 15.6 rebounds.

"He's got to be one of the best rebounders I've ever seen," remarked one assistant college coach who recently made the trek to see him.

"I got him playing all around," Lew Wallace coach Renaldo Thomas told Scout.com. "He's got an outstanding jump shot now too. He's just a player. Rebounding is one of his best attributes but now he's inside-outside."

Bruce Weber, Tom Izzo, John Thompson, Thad Matta, Buzz Williams. They've all been in to see him this season. "Coach Izzo just left the gym on Wednesday and he was talking about how much he's improved since the summer."

However, the guy who just may have spent the most time on Dawson is Purdue's Matt Painter. "He's done a heckuva job recruiting him," Thomas said. When it comes to the Boilermakers, Painter is the guy who watches Dawson, not just the assistants.

Kentucky, UCLA, Marquette, Georgetown, Syracuse, Michigan State, Illinois and Purdue each would love to have Dawson. Thomas calls Dawson's recruitment "open."

As far as the decision, Thomas said Dawson is touched by a few factors. "The opportunity to play and keep growing as a player. That's what drives him. He's a kid and he's enjoying the process.

"I've been there to allow him to continue to do that. There's a lot of basketball he's got to continue to learn. He shouldn't feel obligated to play for anybody right now. He shouldn't worry about the rankings, he's going to get what's coming to him."

The 6-foot-5 Dawson entered the season ranked No. 21 in the nation. He's done nothing but add to his reputation. Thomas saw the potential in Dawson as a freshman against Gary Wirt in a playoff game. When you know, you know. Fast-forward to this season and Thomas' suspicions were confirmed for good.

"He had 40 and 20 down at Milwaukee Vincent. Then one night he had 27 points and 25 rebounds. But, against Milwaukee Vincent against pure competition that was the most impressive. It was a dog fight."

The next dogfight Thomas sees will be the one ensuing for Dawson's signature.

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