6’3” shooting guard Jamarques Lawrence has committed to the University of Nebraska. The three-point marksman put on a riveting range shooting display over the summer on the adidas 3SSB circuit as a standout for the New York Jayhawks, drawing attention from plenty of college programs along the way. Lawrence ultimately chose the Cornhuskers over Wake Forest, after narrowing his list of over 15 offers down to two.
In addition to his shooting ability, look for the Roselle Catholic (NJ) product to bring heady playmaking and leadership to Lincoln. Lawrence will join fellow commits Ramel Lloyd, Jr. (Sierra Canyon/CA), Denim Dawson (Southern California Academy/CA) and Blaise Keita (Coffeyville CC/KS) as part of Nebraska’s 2022 recruiting class.
Pro Insight’s Tyler Glazier spoke with the newest Cornhusker.
Pro Insight: Off the top, how did you get to where you are today?
Jamarques Lawrence: So one year ago I didn’t have any offers. When I first transferred to Roselle Catholic I got one offer, but I guess you can say it was kind of like a “hand out” really. So this summer was my first summer on the 3SSB circuit and I did really good in both sessions and got about 17 offers. That’s a little bit about me, a year and half ago I really didn’t have nothing.
PI: Can you share a bit more about your background?
JL: I was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina and moved to Plainfield, New Jersey when I was around 6 or 7 years old. I’ve been in Plainfield ever since then until now.
PI: Any other athletes in the family?
JL: I’m the youngest child in my family and the best athlete. I have two older brothers who played basketball in high school, but they didn’t take it as seriously as I’m taking it.
PI: For those who haven’t seen you play, describe your game — what are some of your greatest strengths on the court?
JL: Most people know me for being a knockdown shooter, a very high-level shooter. I’m a very elite passer, high IQ, like I can read and make the right plays for my teammates, and I definitely bring energy on defense. Just being an overall leader, picking teammates up, especially the younger guys, the older guys too...but especially the younger guys. Just picking them up and teaching them the experience of high school or AAU basketball. So those are my strengths.
PI: Is being a leader something that comes naturally or has that been something you’ve needed to work at?
JL: It’s something I had to work on. I’d probably say now, this upcoming year after the summer, I became a leader. Sophomore year I wasn’t really a leader and junior year I was working on it, but it just came this summer...me being a natural leader.
PI: What are some areas of your game you’ve improved over the past year?
JL: Definitely finishing through contact and getting to the basket easier. I’d probably say just being able to get to the basket and finish through contact because a year-and-a-half ago I wasn’t able to finish through contact. I feel like I definitely got stronger over the past year-and-a-half so that’s definitely something I improved.
PI: What would you say are some underrated aspects of your game?
JL: Definitely passing. Just my IQ and passing ability. I know those are my strengths, but those don’t get talked about a lot.
PI: How have the New York Jayhawks helped develop you on and off the court over this past year?
JL: Just me coming in, they really brought me in like I was family. Off the court, guys treated me well, whatever I needed they always got me. As I said before I had no offers, so just coming into the live period they knew what I was capable of and they just let me go out there and do my thing. They always told me I was the best scorer in the country and them saying that gave me the boost and I did what I did in the live period. They gave me a lot of confidence, I would say.
PI: How much does it help your game when you have someone who has your back? What does that mean to you?
JL: Yeah, by them saying that, whatever I needed to do for me to be successful, if I needed to bring up the ball, run the offense, or I just needed the ball for that one possession to get a bucket. They let me play with a lot of freedom. It was kind of like whatever I did wasn’t a wrong thing for me to do and that also gave me a lot of energy and confidence.
PI: How surreal has it been to go from no offers to be getting all of this attention from college programs?
JL: It was surprising, at first. I was really happy with myself, but I always told myself I should have already had all of these offers and stuff like that. I kept working on my game and kept pushing. It was pretty exciting.
PI: Has it been a little surprising or have you been expecting it to happen after putting in the hard work?
JL: It was kind of in the middle I would say. After Fairfield, the first 3SSB session, I probably got about six or seven offers and I was just like “wow!” There were coaches calling my phone every day for like a week straight. Getting offers day by day, it was really exciting and was something I was really proud of myself about. Then as more came I was like it’s cool and all, but now I deserve all of this. At first it was definitely exciting.
PI: What were the most important factors in your college decision?
JL: Definitely relationships with not just me, but also my family. That was really the number one thing and relationships with our connection between us two...are you checking in on me consistently? I would say Wake Forest and Nebraska have been doing that since the start of the summer so that’s why it really came down to those two.
PI: Who did you turn to for guidance during the process?
JL: Family and close friends of course, but definitely my uncle. He knows a lot about basketball, especially at the next level. He watches all of the colleges play and tells me what offenses they like to run, how this coach coaches, what playing style fits me the best, etc. We just broke that down day by day and we made the decision together.
PI: Without further adieu, where will you be attending college?
JL: I’ll be attending college at the University of Nebraska.
PI: Congratulations! What set Nebraska apart? What made them different from the rest of your options?
JL: I would say Nebraska had the best relationship with me and my family. And I had the best relationship with the team. What stood out the most was Coach Fred Hoiberg, just him coaching in the NBA, playing in the league, and all of the experience he has. I want him to teach me all of the things I need to go to the next level. He was also known as being a shooter. So him teaching me is what stood out to me the most.
PI: What was Nebraska’s most consistent message to you throughout the recruiting process? What did they try to convey?
JL: I’d probably say the main message was there’s no better system. There’s no better system than theirs to play in, that’s all they really said.
PI: What was Coach Hoiberg’s reaction when you told him?
JL: Very excited, very excited. One thing about Coach Hoiberg is he doesn’t really feed into the recruiting of his players, but we definitely talk every now and then. When I told him he was definitely happy and excited. He’s actually coming down here in I think a couple of weeks to celebrate. We’ll go out and get some dinner. So he’s excited and I’m excited.
PI: It sounds like you got to know some of the Nebraska players throughout the recruiting process?
JL: Definitely, when I was out there they definitely welcomed me the best. Just them showing me around and taking me to places where they go and hang out. Taking me back to the dorms or apartments, just kicking it and just talking about what they do and what I would be doing when I go there. We still talk to this day, texting and stuff.
PI: What do you hope to bring to the program?
JL: Just really giving my all on defense. Being that guy on the court or on the bench who is just excited for my teammates, uplifting them. Locking in on defense and knocking down shots and when I get the chance, definitely get my guys involved. The main thing for year one is bringing excitement.
PI: What will be your focus between now and when you get to campus?
JL: Definitely sharpen up my defense. I can always sharpen up my defense more. Off-hand finishing, too. Those two things are what I really need to work on before I get there.
PI: Lastly, do you have a message for the Cornhusker fans who are excited to hear about your commitment?
JL: I’m really excited and I know they’re going to be excited. I'm coming there to win so that’s really all I’ve got to say. I’m coming there to win and Go Big Red!