Freshman forward Kimani Lawrence is set to make his college basketball debut Saturday in Tucson after missing the first 12 games with a stress fracture in his left foot, according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.
Arizona State will get heralded freshman Kimani Lawrence back tonight for the HUGE matchup against Arizona. Hasn’t played this season due to foot injury.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) December 30, 2017
Lawrence impressed in the preseason before getting injured, and is the fourth-highest rated recruit the Sun Devils have landed since 2007 per ESPN’s rankings.
The 6-foot-7, 210-pound forward was the No. 57 recruit in the 2017 class and No. 13 small forward.
This is what it says of Lawrence in his ASU bio:
— Long-armed and mobile swingman could guard any and all positions. Seems to find himself in the right place at the right time.
— Good mid-range jumper and will help in any and all rebounding and defensive categories in his freshman year.
It is unclear how many minutes Lawrence will play against Arizona or how up to speed he is, but his presence alone could help the undersized Sun Devils in their battle against a much bigger Wildcats frontcourt.
ASU’s frontcourt has consisted of 6-foot-8 freshman Romello White, 6-foot-7 sophomore Mickey Mitchell, 6-foot-10 De’Quon Lake, and 6-foot-9 Vitaliy Shibel, so adding another body into the mix could help immensely, especially since Lawrence could be the most talented player in that group.
ASU has struggled on defense this season, ranking 112th (of 351) in college basketball on that end of the floor per KenPom, and Lawrence’s defensive ability was highly-touted when he was a recruit so maybe he will give ASU a boost there, too.
Saturday’s game in McKale Center is set to tip off at 7 p.m. MST and it will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.
Arizona is listed as a 6.5-point favorite by ESPN.
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire