Before Anthony Lawrence Sr. became the boys basketball coach at Lakewood, he was in charge of an AAU team that included current Spartans Jacobi Boykins and Michael Clark.
Lawrence was with Boykins and Clark through countless practices and tournaments across the country.
So it was understandable Lawrence was emotional as he watched two of his prized pupils put pen to paper as they officially signed to play basketball in college.
Boykins, a 6-foot-4 guard, is going to Louisiana Tech. Clark, a 6-6 forward, will play for St. Francis (Pa.).
Lawrence had tears streaming down his face as he talked about the two players and their careers.
“You invest a lot of time in these kids,” Lawrence said. “It’s so rewarding to see that work pay off.”
Both players watched as their baby pictures flashed on a video screen during a presentation in the school’s Center for Advanced Technology auditorium.
“It’s been a unbelievable day,” Boykins said. “It’s truly a blessing to be able to sign and know I’m going to play in college.”
It was more than a year ago that Boykins missed his junior season after breaking his neck in a car accident. He came back and made an impression with college coaches in offseason camps and tournaments. He chose the Bulldogs over other schools such as Florida Gulf Coast, Rhode Island and Wyoming.
Clark, a senior who transferred from Boca Ciega in April, averaged more than 20 points for the Pirates last season before injuring his ankle a week before the district tournament. Among those in attendance for Clark’s signing was Berkeley Prep guard Justin Gray, who signed with Texas Tech on Wednesday morning. Clark and Gray played on the same AAU team the past few years.
“It was a little embarrassing to see all those photos of me, but overall it was fun,” Clark said. “I was glad to have so many people here. It’s just a relief to have this over and now I can concentrate on having a great senior season.”