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Rod Lawrence finds a home at Campbellsville
By Kelton Ford
Sports Information, Campbellsville University
Most basketball players have unique stories that they can share with their peers and even their family one day. If you were to sit down with any basketball player, it's possible he or she would have endless things to say about their journey ... from the first time they picked up basketball and started playing the game to a moment in time.
Lawrence is truly one of a kind. God has blessed him with great height and a unique skill set and freakish athleticism.
Growing up in Orlando, Fla., Lawrence was fortunate to use basketball as an escape. When it was the weekend, and his friends were out partying, he was the kid who was at the park zipping and banking in endless shots. He said the older guys around his neighborhood saw his ambition and made sure he stayed on the right path.
He attended Orlando's Phillips High School, in the town where he was born and raised. Lawrence put up impressive numbers and helped lead his high school to an outstanding 23-6 record his senior season and an appearance in the state semifinals. After his time at Phillips, Lawrence went on to sign with Miami University of Ohio.
After high school, Lawrence was faced with adversity right out the gate. Things didn't go the way he thought they would at Miami so he was forced to attend junior college, eventually ending up at one of the finest prep schools in the nation -- South Plains (Texas).
"It was a very humbling experience," said Lawrence. "Luckily I was able to attend one of the best JUCO'S where I had the opportunity to showcase my skills in front of some of the best Division 1 coaches in the nation."
Playing in 22 games, with six starts, his freshman year, he helped lead the Texans to a very good 22-8 record. His sophomore year he really got the opportunity to blossom. He started in all 35 games for coach Steve Green and helped lead the team to a phenomenal 29-6 record where he averaged 13 points and six rebounds a game.
Lawrence went on to earn All-Conference and All-Region honors. After his sophomore season Lawrence had the opportunity to fulfill his life-long dream of playing major D1 basketball. He signed to attend the University of Mississippi on a full scholarship.
He would only play there for one year, however, before deciding he wanted to transfer so he would see more action and showcase his ability. But more importantly, he wanted to have fun again.
So that's what brought him to Campbellsville University.
After transferring from Ole Miss, Lawrence was faced with more adversity. He suffered a season-ending injury that forced him to redshirt and stay another year in Campbellsville before seeking professional basketball opportunities overseas.
Asked how he handled the situation, Lawrence replied that he was simply a kid who faced adversity multiple times in his life.
"It wasn't God's plan for me to be out there last year. Everything happens for a reason," he said. I would've hurt my chances of providing for my family and myself if I would have tried to rush back after an injury and risked hurting myself even worse. It just wasn't in God's plan."
Just when you think things can't get any worse, though, a nightmare would come to haunt Lawrence for the rest of his life.
During his redshirt season Lawrence had a very special someone in his life, who was on her way to visit him, to die in a car accident. That special someone was his long-time girlfriend, Ty LaPorte. She was traveling on her way from Oxford to Campbellsville. If you have ever lost a loved one like a mom or dad or anything of that magnitude, stop and think about being a 21-year-old kid losing the girl of your dreams.
"It was a very hard time for me, but I had a great supporting cast in my corner. People from everywhere I had been were reaching out to me just keeping me in their thoughts and prayers. I also felt like it was the time in my life where I needed guidance from the man above, so I found Christ and I got saved. I believe that's what really helped me get through that rough patch."
Lawrence is now back for his final year helping the Tigers to a 7-4 record to date and are sitting 1-1 in the conference with two very tough games coming up in the Lindsey Wilson Christmas Classic.
"I couldn't be happier to be back out there with my brothers. I feel blessed."
Lawrence looks to keep the Tigers rolling and bring a national title to Campbellsville University.
This story was posted on 2016-12-14 17:33:50
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