By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Keon Lawrence, who previously played for the Seton Hall Pirates, has died. He was 32.
NJ.com is reporting that Lawrence died from a virus. He passed away on Friday.
“I was with him at the emergency room, and I was with him right after he died at Beth Israel in Newark,” Alif Muhammad, a longtime mentor, said to NJ Advance Media. “He just got a job at UPS two weeks ago.”
Lawrence attended Weequahic High, where he was first-team All-State by the Newark Star-Ledger. He was also nicknamed the “Human Pogostick” in high school because of his acrobatic dunks and athleticism.
At the time, he was the third player in Essex County history to have 2,000 points in a career.
After high school, he attended the Missouri Tigers, where he played for two seasons. However, in July 2008, he transferred to the Pirates to be closer to his family. He had to sit out the 2008-09 season due to the NCAA mandatory transfer rules.
“I felt it was the better fit for me,” Lawrence said to ZAGSBlog.com at the time. “It’s closer to home. My family and friends were more involved. I just felt it was better.”
He was dismissed by the Pirates in February 2011 by coach Kevin Willard. Lawrence and then-teammate Jamel Jackson were kicked off the team for violating the team rules.
“He just came from a brutally tough place and upbringing and of course he had some ups and downs, but I don’t regret giving the kid an opportunity even though I got blasted for it,” former Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez said. “He was a sweetheart of a kid.”
He was undrafted in the 2011 NBA Draft. Lawrence did play several years of professional basketball overseas.