Lawal: "I just want to keep getting better"

Coming off a twenty one point, nine rebound game against Duke and being named the ACC Player of the Week, Gani Lawal met with GoJackets.com to talk about the upcoming game with Virginia and to comment on the Duke win.

Gani Lawal - Profile

Will this game be important to keep the momentum you gained from the Duke win?

"Extremely important; every conference game is big. We have a Virginia team coming up that's won five in a row. They're a hot team and one you don't want to sleep on."

What would you think about Virginia starting four guards? "Them starting four guards; if they're starting four guards, pound it inside (laughter). Just give me the ball."

Do the freshmen have to learn for themselves about playing on the road in the ACC?

"Life is the best teacher. You just have to do it. We can talk and you can game plan but you won't learn until we head to Charlottesville on Wednesday. You just have to learn from what transpires."

Do you think Mfon [Udofia] is settling down?

"He's a great player. He doesn't play like a freshman. He's going to make freshman mistakes but I look at him as one of the key players on this team. He's one of the impact players. I think he'll be fine."

I guess a win like Duke makes you want to go out and get more?

"Yeah, it was a fun win in front of our home crowd. As I said before, I didn't look at it as an upset. I knew if we came in and did what we were supposed to do, we were going to win the game. We still didn't have a big game from Derrick [Favors]. If he comes in and gets a double-double and dominates, we win by ten or twelve points. We're still an improving team."

You got some face time on ESPN Saturday?

"Yeah, I did. A lot of family members texted me and what not. It's nice to get the recognition."

Did you try to lift Derrick's spirits?

"He's going to have some down moments and he's going to have some up moments. All I try to do is be a big brother mentor. I just tell him that I went through the same thing. There's going to be a learning curve. He's a talented player and a big-time player. He's always going to be one of the impact players on our team."

You were in the weight room right after the game. Are you trying to lead by example?

"That's something I try to do after every game. I try to get in there and lift as a cool down and it keeps me mentally going. I try to get in some free throws as well. I try to be always working."

I see Derrick followed you down there too?

"Yeah, that's something I told him to do and it will pay off. The extra work will pay off. I definitely just try to lead by example."

Does something like that happen because the adrenaline is still going following a game like Duke?

"To be honest, I really wasn't that hyped after the game. If you saw my expression after the game, I wasn't jumping around. I expected it. My adrenaline was pumping more during the game than after the game. After the game, I said we did it and let's get ready for the next one."

What's the best advice you've gotten about your free throw shooting?

"Just stay consistent and fifty five percent that's what I shot last year (laughter). I keep that number in my head. I'll let you guys in on a little secret. When I'm at the line, I'm often thinking Indianapolis…final four. Making free throws isn't everything but it's a key part of getting to Indianapolis come April."

It's got to be gratifying that you've taken another step this year in your game?

"When I came back to school, I just worked like crazy on my game. The coaches here have helped me tremendously; looking at film with me and working with me. I just want to keep working and getting better and improving."


GoJackets.com Top Stories