Chat with Chris Lawlor!
Lawlor is a senior writer covering high school sports for ESPN.com. He has covered high schools for more than 20 years, most recently with USA Today, where he was the head preps writer responsible for national high school rankings in football, baseball and boys and girls basketball.
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Lawlor Archive: Columns
Buzzmaster (3:11 PM)
Sorry for the delay folks. Some technical problems on our end. Should not be much longer.
Chris Lawlor (3:33 PM)
Well, I'm here folks. Let"s get started.
Jeremy (Bristol, CT)
In your opinion, what's the top hoops state and why?
Chris Lawlor (3:37 PM)
I'd say California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Georgia are at the top now. California may have more depth but pound for pound New York puts out the best player.
With Mater Dei losing one of its big five, can they hold on to the No. 1 spot in the rankings?
Chris Lawlor (3:40 PM)
For those of you don't know, Mater Dei lost Stanford-bound 6-8 shooting guard Andy Brown to a knee injury. He's out for the season and this will hamper Mater Dei's chances to run the table. The Trinity League is down this year, so winning out shouldn't be a problem but the real fun happens in the Southern Section playoffs. The biggest stumbling block might be next Saturday's game against No. 3 St. Benedict's of Newark, NJ. The Gray Bees might be the best team I've seen this season but they must travel 3,000 miles for this game. Mater Dei needs this one to hold down the top spot
Frank (North Carolina)
What kind of research do you do each week in coming up with the FAB 50?
Chris Lawlor (3:42 PM)
Frank, it takes a lot of daily research to keep up with 100 teams and five regions. Each area has their top teams and schedules. Weekends are particularly hectic because their so many events, tournaments and shootouts. Things start to stabilize when the playoffs begin. For most states that's usually mid February.
Hey Chris, thanks for joining us. How are you today?
Chris Lawlor (3:44 PM)
Steiny thanks for the kind words. I hope to see many hoop fans from NYC in two weeks at Fordham University for the Nike Super Six. Three great games, including St. Patrick-Lincoln which will be shown live on ESPNU, 9 p.m. ET.
Who was the best high school hoopster you've ever seen?
Chris Lawlor (3:46 PM)
There are two: Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Both were rock stars in their own right and dominated the game unlike anyone else. I never saw Kevin Garnett play live but many think he's the best. Keep an eye on DeMarcus Cousins, a 6-9 senior from LeFlore High in Mobile, Ala. He's the real deal in 2009 but not quite the level of the aforementioned athletes.
Which burough of NYC has the best hoops?
Chris Lawlor (3:50 PM)
Brian, clearly Brooklyn. There a few staples from the borough: Junior's Cheesecake, Peter Luger's Steakhouse, egg creams, Dem Bums (Brooklyn Dodgers), Spike Lee and basketball. The signature players include Lenny Wilkins, Billy Cunningham, Rolando Blackman, Sebastian Telfair, Stephon Marbury, Sam Perkins, Chris Mullin, Mike Dunleavy, Pearl Washington, Connie Hawkins, etc.....you catch my drift.
Paul (Ft Worth)
Have you ever been mistaken as a high schooler during the last year?
Chris Lawlor (3:51 PM)
Paul, me, a high schooler? Not quite but I do have great genetics compliments of mom and dad.
I saw Cousins at Hoophall against Lance Stephenson. Stephenson is overrated. Thoughts?
Chris Lawlor (3:53 PM)
Stephenson isn't having a stellar senior season but Lincoln lacks a true point guard. Lance is a great player who needs to shoulder too much this year. A year or two of college should round out his game.
What happened to North Carolina? They're a way better state for hoops. Does Kentucky stand a chance in this thing?
Chris Lawlor (3:56 PM)
James, I didn't forget about the Tar Heel State. NC has a great tradition and is among the top 10 states for high school hoops. For college basketball, the Tobacco Road tradition takes a backseat to no one. Overall the state has high quality players and coaches. The talent pool (because of population and demographics) isn't as deep as others. States such as Indiana, North Carolina and Kentucky may put out the most fundamentally sound players.
Chris Lawlor (4:07 PM)
Thanks for the questions. Let's do it again real soon. Maybe as the postseason tips off nationally. For those in New Jersey, I'll be at the big matchup Wednesday February 4th between No. 3 Benedict's and No. 5 St. Patrick at Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway. Should be an instant classic. Arrive early because they're expecting around 5,000 or more at the RAC. Hopefully you're supporting your local high schools. With the economy down, it's the best bang for your buck. See you at the game. Best wishes in 2009. -- Chris