April 05, 2017

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) K.J. Lawson and Dedric Lawson are leaving Memphis' program, which leaves the Tigers without two of their top three scorers and their top two rebounders from this season.

Memphis coach Tubby Smith said in a university statement that he learned Wednesday that the Lawson brothers were planning to ask for their release from the university. Smith said he was notified after meeting with the Lawsons and their parents.

''I am surprised and disappointed in the decision, as they had a strong year for us, and were a big part of our success during the season,'' Smith said. ''We want to thank the Lawson family as a whole and appreciate what they have contributed to the program.''

The Lawsons' father, Keelon Lawson, worked at Memphis as director of player development this season after spending two years as an assistant coach on former Memphis coach Josh Pastner's staff. Memphis officials didn't immediately respond to a message seeking clarification on Keelon Lawson's current status with the program.

The departures of the Lawson brothers create a couple of giant holes on Memphis' roster as Smith prepares for his second season on the job.

Dedric Lawson, a 6-foot-9 guard/forward, led the American Athletic Conference in rebounds (9.9) and ranked second in the conference in scoring (19.2) as a sophomore this season while helping Memphis go 19-13. K.J. Lawson, a 6-7 guard/forward, was third in the American in rebounds (8.1) and averaged 12.3 points as a redshirt freshman this season.

The two siblings are from Memphis.

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