Bama Hoops Hype

2016-17 Player Report Cards: Lawson Schaffer

Lawson Schaffer Joe Habshey - Bama Hoops Hype

With the college basketball offseason approaching, we wanted to take a look back at the Crimson Tide’s season. We will be breaking down each individual player on the Alabama men’s basketball team and grading his performance for the 2016-17 season. Next up is Lawson Schaffer.

A player of proven talent, Schaffer’s high school accolades attracted collegiate coaches’ attention. Ranging from the breaking of his high school’s scoring record with 1,997 points to his representation of the state of Alabama in the Alabama-Mississippi All Star game, his prominence throughout the state was made well known through his play on the court. Declared the 6A player of the year by the Alabama Sports Writing Association (ASWA) after an incredible career at Cullman High School, Schaffer decided to continue his career at Alabama as a preferred walk-on under Coach Avery Johnson.

The 5’11, 161-pound guard came into his sophomore season looking to build on a fairly average freshman campaign.  Seeing action in 16 games that year, Schaffer saw his first collegiate action against Kennesaw State in the Tide’s season opener recording a minute of playing time.  His first career points came on a deep three against Kentucky.  This 2016-17 season saw a rise in action as well as increased production for the Cullman (A.L.) native.  He found action in each of the last seven games of the season – 17 games overall – and doubled his scoring output as a result of the increase in action. Schaffer finished the season perfect from the charity stripe and 50 percent from three, knocking down all four of his attempts from the line and just as many shots from deep.  Given his limited number of minutes, Schaffer manages to make the most of his time on the floor, racking up five assists to go with four rebounds and three steals on the year.  He’s also very strong with the ball, only giving up one turnover throughout the season.

A primary reason for Schaffer’s lack of playing time is his size.  At 5’11, he’s not exactly the physical presence one would come to expect from a collegiate ballplayer. He makes up for this with his incredible ballhandling, but that doesn’t seem to be enough to validate a stronger role in Avery Johnson’s line-up.  It’s clear, however, that Johnson is experimenting with Schaffer, occasionally giving him a bit of time in the midst of closer games, such as their March 9 match-up with Mississippi State. A game in which he recorded a career high five points. The change-up from Schaffer’s normal two minutes and under only action gives hope for Schaffer fans.  Experiments like these indicate that as Schaffer matures in his game and improves his shot, he has a chance to find his way into a larger role for this Tide team on the rise.

There’s no doubt that Schaffer has talent – the kid didn’t miss in his senior showcase – but he’s going to have to work hard to overcome the issues his size presents if he ever wants a chance to make a real impact on the team with his play.

Schaffer is a last-second assassin, but he needs to be much more than that for his impact to truly make waves for this rising Tide team.

2016-17 Final Grade: C+

Johnathan Anderson covers Alabama Men’s Basketball for Bama Hoops Hype. You can follow him on Instagram, via @johnathananderson_ and Twitter, via @JohnathanA_.

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