Oak Ridge head coach Stan Kowalewski played his college basketball at Dartmouth before moving back to North Carolina and coaching various high school teams. He also served as an assistant on the college level at UNC Greensboro and Greensboro College and coached future college stars such as James Mays (Clemson) and Cedric Simmons (NC State) during his time as a coach for the N.C. Gaters, an AAU program based in the triad.
"Jacob reminds me a lot of James Mays," said coach Kowalewski. "Athletically he's a lot like James... he can rebound the basketball and really block shots. I've coached Jacob since he was a freshman and he brings incredible speed and quickness off the floor. He has excellent hands and rebounds well.
"What Jacob does very well is block shots without fouling. He's had several games with close to 10 blocks. He blocked 95 shots as a freshman and 135 as a sophomore... I think he can block close to 150 shots this year. He gets up in the air quickly and does it without fouling."
A member of the 2011 class, Lawson checks in at 6-foot-7 and nearly 230 pounds. He played last year at Northern Guilford and made the move to Oak Ridge with Kowalewski. When watching Lawson, his natural athleticism and explosiveness jumps out at you, and he continues to develop other areas of his game.
"He's developing into a complete basketball player," said Kowalewski. "He's always flourished at running the floor, blocking shots, and finishing at the rim. He's learning to drive and finish and handle the basketball. He's working on his jumpshot... he's developing his game even more.
"He's really starting to flourish in those areas. As of now, we don't know if he's going to end up 6-foot-8 or 6-foot-10. Right now he's in the 6'8 range and is a chiseled specimen capable of playing the three and four spots on the floor."
Because of what Lawson brings to the table he is already receiving heavy high-major attention.
"Most of the schools from the Big East, SEC, and ACC are recruiting Jacob, minus a few schools from each conference," Kowalewski stated. "He's already taken unofficial visits to Syracuse and NC State and is talking about taking a visit to Georgetown. He's receiving interest from Stanford and Notre Dame as well."
Lawson visited NC State a couple of weeks ago when the Wolfpack hosted New Orleans.
"I haven't had a chance to talk with him much about the NC State visit, but I know he enjoyed going to the game," said Kowalewski. "I know he had a good time at NC State, but he's still wide open. He's going to take more of those trips when he can during the season. I think he wants to try and get a feel for some schools so he can narrow his list down some."
Don't expect a quick decision from Lawson, as it sounds like the plan is to consider several factors before making a decision next year.
"Academics and graduation rates are going to be high on the priority list for Jacob and his parents," said Kowalewski. "They really want to see him graduate from college and get a good education. Coaches who put a big emphasis on graduating players will certainly be at the top of the list.
"From a basketball standpoint I think he wants to play relatively quickly. I think geography will play a role in it some, but with TV the way it is now I don't think distance will matter as much as it may have in year's past.
"I think his plan is to narrow it down to five schools in the spring time and take some unofficial visits so he can try and make a decision over the summer."