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Canada basketball
Holly MacKenzie

The Naismith Notes: AJ Lawson inks two-way contract with Minnesota Timberwolves

It’s been a week to remember for Brampton native A.J. Lawson. Averaging 22.3 points for Atlanta Hawks G League affiliate College Park Skyhawks over four games this season, Lawson inked a two-way contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves last Wednesday.

Lawson played for the Skyhawks last season, as well as with the Guelph Nighthawks in the CEBL last summer, in addition to suiting up for the Dallas Mavericks in the 2022 NBA Summer League, where he averaged a team-high 15.6 points per game. He spent time with the Timberwolves prior to the start of the NBA season and now he’s back with the team where he will split his time between the TWolves and the G League for the rest of the season.

Hours after inking his new contract, Lawson was on the court for Minnesota in their 126-108 blowout victory against the New York Knicks. Lawson logged two minutes of action and he made the most of them, scoring the first two points of his NBA career.

After the game, Karl-Anthony Towns singled out his new teammate.

- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander simply refuses to be stopped. The 24-year-old Oklahoma City Thunder guard is averaging 31.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.4 blocks in 35.6 minutes per game this season.

In Washington, Gilgeous-Alexander poured in 30 second-half points before drilling a stepback three-pointer with a second remaining to cap a 42-point performance and propel the Thunder to a 121-120 road win. The 42 points matched a career high and came on 14-for-22 shooting, including 9-for-10 shooting in the second half. Gilgeous-Alexander made 12-of-17 free throw attempts in the win and added six rebounds and seven assists as he led the Thunder in a 35-20 third quarter as they came all the way back from a 17-point deficit in the first quarter.

- Cassandre Prosper is only 17 years old, but her star just keeps shining brighter. A week after committing to Notre Dame, the Cairine Wilson Secondary School forward was named to the Naismith Girls’ High School Player of the Year list.

- After holding down the No. 2 spot in’s Rookie Ladder for the past few weeks, Bennedict Mathurin debuted in the top spot this week.

Steve Aschburner highlighted Mathurin’s stellar scoring off the bench, making a case for the rookie to be a potential Sixth Man of the Year candidate. In 16 games for the Indiana Pacers, Mathurin is averaging 19.3 points in 27.6 minutes per game, all off the bench. Indiana’s commitment to using Mathurin as a spark plug off the bench is working; The Pacers have won five straight and seven of their last eight games.

- Olivier-Maxence Prosper exploded for 31 points in Marquette’s 95-58 blowout victory against Long Island University. Prosper made 11-of-12 field goals, all three of his three-point attempts, and 6-of-7 free throw attempts in just 20 minutes of playing time. Prosper is Marquette’s leading scorer, averaging 13.2 points per game. He also leads the team in steals, with 2.0 per contest.

- Yvonne Ejim has been sensational for the Gonzaga Bulldogs to start the season. The 6-foot-1 junior had a 26-point, seven-rebound performance in a 66-64 victory against Wyoming. She followed that up with a 13-point, nine-rebound effort in an overtime victory against Louisville. On Monday, she poured in 22 points and nine rebounds, making 7-of-8 shots to lead Gonzaga over Tennessee 73-72. With Gonzaga trailing by one with 11 seconds remaining, Ejim scored on a layup to move Gonzaga in front. Ejim is averaging 18.0 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, both team highs.

- Marcus Carr had 16 points and seven assists as the No. 11 Texas Longhorns defeated No. 2 Gonzaga 93-74 to remain undefeated on the season. Carr was 5-for-12 from the floor, including 4-for-9 from beyond the arc while adding four rebounds and a steal to go with his seven assists. The 6-foot-2 senior is leading the team in assists and is second in scoring, averaging 14.0 points per game.

- Finally, a truly memorable image to leave you with for the week. Senior Women’s National Team head coach Víctor Lapeña experienced his first footprints in the snow after the first snowfall of the season.