Emmett Lawton to Play College Basketball at WashU in St. Louis


Emmett Lawton is a two-sport star at Notre Dame Academy. The senior is trying to decide which sport he will play in college: basketball or soccer. Greg Bates photos

Emma Zankoul, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

“My favorite thing about basketball is it’s the best break from a busy reality for me,” said Emmett Lawton, a senior at NDA who was recently recruited into Washington University’s basketball team in St. Louis.

Lawton started playing basketball when he was four, and soccer as well. He first signed up to play these sports because all his friends were doing it, but he ended up realizing “how fun these sports were to me.”
After over a decade of being a dual sport athlete, Lawton still managed to greatly succeed in both, and that was only possible due to his great time management skills.

“My dad taught me to put each facet of my life into its own bucket, for example one for school, another for soccer, basketball, service work… And if you ensure that you are dividing your time in a way that can keep all of your buckets full, you will be successful,” he said.

He also mentioned that he spends most of his nights studying, so sport practices are his “daily fun.”

And although he has a great time and passion playing both the sports, Lawton thinks that his love for basketball is more fond because he spends more time in its practices.

So that is what made him choose basketball over soccer, on top of the fact that “there are not many things that beat out the feeling of being on the court with not a thought or worry in my head,” as he said.

Lawton has also acquired many skills from playing the game. “I’ve learned how to be a leader in different team settings, how to handle adversity and how confidence has such a profound effect on anyone’s play,” he said.

He also said that his inspiration throughout the journey and the reason he never gave up was remembering the reason he started playing. “I initially just wanted to have fun,” he said. “When I’m not playing my best, I remember the kid that first picked up the ball, and I play for him.”

Even though Lawton has played basketball almost his whole life, he is not looking to go professionally as he has his eyes set on medical school.

“My next goal as I move into my collegiate career is to win Division III March Madness and cut down a net as a WashU Bear,” he said.

But he is very grateful for the astonishing journey he has been through and for the amazing people he has met along the way. He said that his teams and coaches outside of school have been a huge factor in his success.

“My family has also been more than supportive throughout my recruitment process,” he said. “They talk me through difficult decisions, help me navigate the highs and lows that come with sports and always travel with me and cheer me on at my tournaments.”

Lawton also wants to thank the Notre Dame basketball team. “It is a great group of supportive guys, and we are having a blast as the seasons zoom by,” he said.

But now that he is almost done with this part of his journey, he is very excited to go into the next and play for WashU Bears. 

Although he was recruited at many other great schools, including UChicago and MIT, Lawton chose WashU because of their “inviting team/coaching staff, beautiful campus, and academic and research opportunities.”

Even though the school is very competitive and hard to get into, Lawton “knew that I had set myself up to be a qualifying applicant especially after they reached out and offered me a roster spot.” 

He also said his success in the classroom is “certainly what helped me become a qualifying applicant.”

Now that Emmett has successfully accomplished his high school basketball journey, he has some advice to share for other young athletes.

“Stay focused on your craft and build everyday,” he said. “Your sport requires skill work so that all of your abilities stay tight and calibrated. Have the confidence to take big shots, and go out and get it – whatever ‘it’ may be. You have to take each opportunity as if it’s your first, last and only.”