Was it a mistake for Gani Lawal to bypass his senior season at Georgia Tech for the NBA Draft? He was selected in the second round (No. 46 overall) by the Phoenix Suns last week.
His high school coach at Norcross defended the decision. “I don’t think he left college too early,” said Eddie Martin, who now coaches at Greater Atlanta Christian. ”I think Gani is ready for the next level and to be challenged … to grow in a program, hopefully like the Suns.”
“I had talked to Gani on several occasions, and told him ‘Make sure you’re getting the right information from the right people before you make that final decision.’ He called me back later and said, ‘Coach, I feel like it’s time for me to make the next step and go through the learning process.’
“People can question it all they wanted. But the bottom line is … only 60 people get drafted each year for the NBA, and Gani is one of those guys. Now it’s time to go to work and prove that he can really play at that level.”
Did Lawal have anything to gain with his basketball game by staying at Georgia Tech for another year? “It’s hard to say … who knows? I don’t know what kind of recruiting class that [Tech] has coming in for this year,” Martin said. “If Favors and [Lawal] had stayed, that obviously would make Georgia Tech on paper anyways a very talented team. But who is to say? We can only speculate about the scenario.”
Martin had two of his former Norcross players drafted by the NBA last week. Along with Lawal, Wake Forest forward Al-Farouq Aminu was taken at No. 8 overall by the Los Angeles Clippers.
“I couldn’t be happier for both of them,” Martin said. “Two great basketball players and two outstanding young men.”