MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — LeMoyne-Owen center Jaquan Lawrence was leaving class when he found out he was a finalist for the inaugural HBCU All-Star game.

“A few weeks later they announced on CBS Sports that I was selected in one of those 24 [players] and I was like ‘yeah, I did that,’ Lawrence said.

It was the opportunity of a lifetime for the fifth year senior from Chicago – who thought his days of playing collegiately were over. 

“[The all-stars] had our own group chat, everybody was just saying it’s a blessing, it’s a blessing. At the press conference — it’s a blessing.”

The weekend down in New Orleans included a pro day in front of NBA scouts and wrapped up with the all-star game where Lawrence finished with 7 points, 2 blocks. 

“All the work that I put in over the pandemic time, I was just like, what if basketball don’t happen again? So, I was like, I’m gonna work until I can’t work no more. And I’m gonna keep working after that. So just putting in all my hard work and made me feel like yeah, I can really achieve my goals if I just work hard and dedicate myself to it.” 

Lawrence said he grew so much this past season under Magician’s first-year head coach Bonzi Wells – who focused on the mental side of basketball. 

“You say you want to play professional, what are you doing to prepare yourself to play professionally? Because [Wells] knows the game, he know what it takes to play at the next level, and like the physicality and the speed of the game, and everything that that comes with it.” 

“During the season, he brought his passion for the game to us and he wanted us to be the most successful and put us in the most successful position.” 

This season, the 6-9 center averaged a near double-double with 12 points, and nearly 9 rebounds a game — scoring 19 points, 12 boards, and 5 blocks to help the Magician’s advance to the SIAC quarterfinals. 

Lawrence ended the season garnering SIAC Defensive Player of the Year honors. 

“I had like success during the season, but it’s like, God wanted me to be patient with him. A lot of people asked like, man, you’re so talented, why are you at LeMoyne-Owen College? Like, why aren’t you playing D-I basketball? I was like that’s what I’m called to be. I’m praying for all these big things, but do you have patience with me? Last year comes, {SIAC] Defensive Player of the Year, second team all-conference, HBCU All Star game. And it was crazy. Just to just really just sit back and reflect on all that like all those achievements and just to feel those trophies and those plaques and just see my name across newspapers and it was just like, this is this is really happening.”