Gani Lawal: stay or go?

Gani Lawal’s decision to enter his name in the NBA draft is interesting for several reasons.

Coach Paul Hewitt says it’s a smart decision. It doesn’t cost Lawal a dime to learn what NBA teams think of him. Plus, the information will help him should he decide to come back because it gives him a chance to work on his weaknesses, and hone his strengths. And Hewitt says Lawal is a tireless worker. He will no doubt use the information from the teams to his advantage. Provided he doesn’t get injured, and shows the same improvement he had between his freshman and sophomore seasons, Lawal’s choice shows a lot of foresight because it could result in a much bigger payday if he enters the 2010 draft.

And then there’s the Favors question. Some say that Derrick Favors, the heralded big man who signed with Georgia Tech last week, will take points, and rebounds away from Lawal, which could hurt his draft stock.

Of course, the two could help each other. Favors will likely draw double-teams, which could help Lawal. And Lawal’s physical style could help Favors down low, as well. 

Plus, good players help period.

49 comments Add your comment


April 20th, 2009
4:40 pm


April 20th, 2009
4:43 pm

He won’t end up going. Smart decision to not hire an agent. Should he return, he will gain more attention simply because next year’s team should be a huge focus in terms of ACC teams.


April 20th, 2009
5:01 pm

I doubt he returns. He hasn’t been to class in weeks. Good Luck


April 20th, 2009
5:04 pm

See ya, take Hewitt with you.



April 20th, 2009
5:13 pm

Not being ready didn’t stop Critterton or Young. Bosh wasn’t ready when he went out, didn’t really hurt him.

It seems that staying hurts more than leaving too soon because NBA teams draft potential and, as crazy as it sounds, developing that potential in college means a player has less potential for an NBA team to develop.

The only way he stays is if he’s already been here too long and the window is closed.


April 20th, 2009
5:41 pm

Staying will hurt more because PAUL HEWITT is still our coach. Thad Young and Bosh IMPROVED their game after they left GT – better coaching at the next level!!


April 20th, 2009
5:44 pm

Hewitt needs to to take us back to the Final Four or he should receive a Greyhound bus ticket like gomer gailey. It is time to put up or catch the bus. TGAG.

Joe Schmoe

April 20th, 2009
5:45 pm

Why would he want to stay with us at GT with a crap coach. I dont blame the kid a bit, its a smart move as long as PH is the coach.


April 20th, 2009
5:57 pm

The man cannot shoot foul shots. He makes Shack look like Mark Price.

Tech Fan

April 20th, 2009
6:02 pm

Oh my god guys, stop your b-tchin. PLEASE


April 20th, 2009
6:29 pm

WOW… Talk about some B&*tches..
Jeez did Hewitt take GT to the finals for the first time in the history of the school..
Did Hewitt get a top 5 recruiting class @ GT.. How many of those has Tech had.. With the academic requirement, lousy facilities, even lousier fanbase, and little brother complex the school has, yall should be more supportive of your Coach..


April 20th, 2009
6:30 pm

Tech will struggle in (2006, 2008, 2010, 2011) because (Jack, Young, Lawal, Favors) left early, but next year I hear there is a great recruiting class coming in….

NO MORE tech talk

April 20th, 2009
6:37 pm

who cares , obviously he is no good either way….. gt sux this year in basketball. next year wont be any different.


April 20th, 2009
6:39 pm

Did Hewitt go 2-14 in the conference this year with 2 McDonald’s All-Americans and plenty of other talent?

Has Hewit had one winning ACC regular season (9-7 in 2004) in 9 years?

Has Hewitt had losing seasons with above average talent in 3 of the last 4 years?

Has Hewitt won exactly 1 NCAA game other than the final four year in 9 years?

Does Tech have the ACC conference, city of Atlanta, and a track record of NBA talent to use as a recruiting tool?

Has Tech used these advantages to compile a record 1 game over .500 the last 5 years?

The answer to all of the above is yes. And the new practice facility removes one more excuse (not that this great recruiting class was signed with the facilities we had).

Hal Vernon

April 20th, 2009
6:52 pm

And there’s KD again, spouting rubbish.

blue fox

April 20th, 2009
7:58 pm

Lawal should ask Aminu whether staying with PH and staff another year will up or degrade his NBA stock.


April 20th, 2009
8:54 pm

Who the hell are you Hal Vernon?? And how am I at it “again”? This is my first post on an AJC blog hot shot.

GT EE Class of '93

April 20th, 2009
9:47 pm


Mark Bradley and Tony Barnhardt should pee on your keyboard, and unplug your computer. Basketball sucks. And our basketball program really sucks.

If you’re going to the time to do some research and report, do us all a favor and blog about something interesting this off season. I know the off=season makes it difficult, but let me make the following suggestions:

1. What does coach Paul Johnson eat for breakfast, that makes him so much smarter than everyone else?

2. If we played The Pittsburgh Steelers in a scrimmage, and we had Calvin Johnson, how bad would we kill them?

3. I’ve heard a rumor that Joe Hamilton has one more year of eligibility, and might make a surprise return. You?

3a. How bad would we kill the Pittsburgh Steelers if we had both Joe Ham and Calvin Johnson?

GT EE ‘93


April 20th, 2009
10:19 pm

Hey Tech nerds, I thought y’all prided yourselves on being classy. This “m” clown must be your proudest graduate.

That said, Paul Johnson will bring a conference(ha!) championship to Tech. Basketball on the other hand….


April 20th, 2009
11:55 pm

He needs bettter skills than he currently has to be playing in the NBA in the 8-10 man rotation of any of the teams within the next 5 years. That said, since we are who we are, take the money and run. Put it in treasury bills and you will have saved more than most people will make in their lives….
It is not rocket science, unless he is an AE.

Carolina Jacket

April 21st, 2009
7:43 am

Can’t blame him for taking a look. As far as losing rebounds to Favors goes, it would also give him a chance to “show his stuff” with another great player. How well would the play together? His decision will greatly determine Tech’s success next year. Look at the guys that stayed at UNC. That championship certainly didn’t hurt their chances at the NBA.


April 21st, 2009
8:04 am

Robot roll call!


April 21st, 2009
9:12 am

Let’s all be honest and admit that the talent level on last years team, not to mention the consistancy, was nowhere near where it needs to be to be competitive. Hence we lost a lot of games. We did not have enough guards and the teams that beat us all had guards. If you look at the one upset of Wake it’s because they have too many forwards too. Lawal will not be a lottery pick and to me that should be your goal when coming out early. I hope he stays but I guess I’ve never seen a Tech player submit for the draft and come back. Does anybody remember a case of somebody how did such a thing? With Lawal and Favors in the line-up I would expect Gani to average about the same as he did this year, which Favors averaging about the same or more. Without Lawal I see Favors averaging over 20. If you watched the McDonald’s All American Game and Jordon’s (won MVP of both games) you would see that he’s going to be hard to handle for the other teams.


April 21st, 2009
9:58 am

He’s gone…wish it was Hewitt!

Supersize that order, mutt

April 21st, 2009
11:01 am

Gordon, thanks for setting Ignition straight on things. What does it take for people to realize that PH couldn’t coach a grammar-school team to a city championship. He has proven year after year that he can’t win in the ACC. Even the Final Four year, we sucked at ACC play. And for whoever it was to say we didn’t have good enough talent last, that’s just BS. Maybe we didn’t have enough talent to win the ACC, but we sure as hell had enough talent to win more than 2 games in the ACC and not have to struggle just to edge out a pathetic UGAG team. Hewitt had had more than enough time to provide consistency…..OTHER THAN consistent mediocrity. A super recruiting class won’t do any good when the coach doesn’t have a clue on how to build a team out of them.

Statue for CPJ

April 21st, 2009
2:20 pm

I far as I know, no one has ever returned (to Tech) after entering the draft. Maybe he’ll return if he is not a lottery pick (which I don’t think he will be).

We have to keep these guys if we are going to win championships. How does UNC do it? Wait, I know…b/c the kids want to be coached up and they can’t get that at Tech. I hope that is not the case. I truly hope Paul proves them wrong by going to the sweet sixteen next year.


April 21st, 2009
2:23 pm

STAY…. Together with Favors well have the BEST frountcourt in the nation!

GT 79

April 21st, 2009
3:25 pm

PH is a good coach and a lot better than most GT has had. Its too bad to hear that Gani isn’t going to class. A degree is the best reason to go to GT.

One thing I’ve never understood is why a player would go to GT for the academics but not expect to stay the whole time. Dont get me wrong, anyone good enough to go to the NBA rather than risk injury playing college ball Think BJ Elder who is a great guy.


April 21st, 2009
3:27 pm

Tech will definitely have plenty of 4-5’s next season if Gani stays. 6-10 Daniel Miller will sign with Tech in the next day or so.


April 21st, 2009
4:48 pm

Good luck Gani!


April 21st, 2009
4:57 pm

Well in the long run this will mean nothing at all. If he goes, we lose what could be a terrific player at GT next year. If he returns, he will still be playing for one of the worst X’s & O’s coach in the country in Paul Hewitt, so it is not like he would come close to reaching his potential. In fact, if he does leave and Tech therefore is more mediocre than I think they will be, the likelihood of Hewitt being canned would only increase… so I abide with the “less is more” philosophy this year.


April 22nd, 2009
8:41 am

GT 79:

Who gave you your information that Gani is no longer going to class? If that was the case, he would have hired an agent and made it official that he is leaving.


April 22nd, 2009
8:47 am

Gani Lawal is going to class and he is also on track to graduate in December of 2010.

Larry M

April 22nd, 2009
9:05 am

He’s gone! They tell me he’s tired of Hewitt’s post game TicklePiles under the “Thriller Dome.”


April 22nd, 2009
9:36 am

Will there be a new blog up anytime soon…this one is not worth even discussing because in the end he may stay he may not, and nobody but him knows at all.

Larry Bird

April 22nd, 2009
9:41 am

Paul Hewitt needs to be an NBA scout or work in NBA player development. He is quite content to use Tech as an NBA farm system.

North Ave Jacket

April 22nd, 2009
11:54 am

LOL! Robot Roll Call! We need a blog devoted to that. Bender is and remains king of all robots.

As to Hewitt I have to agree with Larry Bird. The dude is great at finding future NBA players. But can the guy find and produce college players?


April 22nd, 2009
12:27 pm

Maybe your blog got eliminated as the Dog Beat blog. Cutbacks bite.


April 22nd, 2009
2:16 pm

Guys, I let you down on this one. I thought for sure that Gani would come back next season, but I guess the allure of the NBA was too strong. I still say he needs to gain about 20 lbs. Yes, he has a rock hard body right now, but he’s going to learn quick that he needs to bulk up. Good luck GL!


April 22nd, 2009
2:45 pm

cuz…yeah thats true I guess but I find it funny why ya’ll have blogs when you can’t even read them…I mean literally everyone of you sais the exact same thing so obviously nobody can read what the others are saying…why am I even typing this just make it two waffles to go with two fried eggs thanks


April 22nd, 2009
3:00 pm

’sais’…..please don’t tell others they cannot read when you cannot even spell SAYS! Clean up on aisle 4 genius.


April 22nd, 2009
4:09 pm

If anyone wants to drown their sorrows with me, I’ll be at Swinging Richards tonight at around 8:30. This is just devastating. I can’t imagine Favors, Iman, and Gani all on the same court. Oh well, nothing a few cosmos can’t help, right:)


April 22nd, 2009
5:00 pm

Lawal’s not ready for the NBA. Good player-but he’s not ready. It’s that simple.


April 22nd, 2009
8:23 pm

this was not Gani’s decision btw. Much more to this issue than what it appears.


April 22nd, 2009
10:10 pm

Can you blame the guy for leaving? Think about the money. Wouldn’t you leave for that kind of pay day as a 20 year old kid? I would. Even with a degree he will NEVER make NBA money working a job. I am not a Hewitt fan, but the decision could be money driven. There is something to be said for setting up your family for the next few generations. Good luck Gani!

North Ave Jacket

April 23rd, 2009
8:24 am

Are these blogs over? Will anyone post an update?

Where else can I get my updates from Atlanta Jackets? LOL!


April 23rd, 2009
10:28 am

Gani Lawal is a projected lottery pick in 2010 not 2009. He has entered the draft to “gauge” his position should somehow a team would be willing to take a flyer on him early this year. I wouldn’t be so sure he is leaving at all. In addition Lawal is clearly not NBA ready and not nearly seasoned enough. Playing another year against top talent will only enhance his value especially playing alongside Favors.

If Lawal stays GT will certainly be a top 20 team heading into the season and certainly an early top ACC team. The team is flat out loaded. Hewitt is a great recruiter and coach and I hope he has success next year plus a point guard that actually starts to pan out again.

Rock on…..

Supersize that order, mutt

April 23rd, 2009
10:48 am

Hewitt may be a great recruiter, but he is certainly NOT a great coach. A team with the talent he had last year should do much better than only 2 ACC wins and last-minute win over a terrible UGAG team. If he cannot build an average team out of average to good talent, what makes anybody think he can build a good team out of good to great talent. And the key word there is TEAM. That was not a TEAM last year; that was a group of guys on the floor playing basketball. There was no chemistry, no cohesiveness, no sense of any kind of game plan. Chemistry may not be something you can coach, but you can certainly have a game plan which develops cohesiveness;. Chemistry generally follows because the first two produce wins, which in turn produce conficence and mutual trust. None of that has been apparent on any Hewitt-coached team since the Final Four year.

Supersize that order, mutt

April 23rd, 2009
10:50 am

make that confidence, not conficence