Lawal Developing Into Elite Talent

Gani Lawal made the move from Riverdale High (Ga.) to nearby Norcross prior to this, his junior season, and his new coach couldn't be happier.

It's not that Norcross coach Eddie Martin isn't excited about adding Lawal's talents; it's more the fact that he's thrilled to add an all-around kid such as Lawal.

Lawal is a 6-foot-8, 210-pound junior who came to Norcross with a whittled-down list that appears to be headed by Georgia Tech – but also includes Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Wake Forest and Georgia.

"Not every school has called because he narrowed his choices down before he got here," Martin said. "I'm not getting flooded."

However, the Tar Heels do keep in consistent contact with Martin and Lawal.

Lawal, ranked No. 14 overall in the class of 2007 by and the No. 5 power forward, has been compared to former Yellow Jackets standout Chris Bosh and future Tar Heels forward Brandan Wright, although his offense is still catching up to his defensive skills at this point.

Martin said that Lawal is averaging 19.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks on a team that has Jodie Meeks (Kentucky) and two other Division I players.

"I'm glad I have the opportunity to work with a kid like Gani," Martin said. "He's so receptive to what we're trying to do. He wants to grasp knowledge and get better. He's a "yes, sir" and "no, sir" type of kid."

Martin does a recap of each game with his team called the "Good, Bad and the Ugly" and Lawal went up to his new coach and asked if he could do it specifically for him after each game so he knows where he needs to improve.

One of the areas Lawal doesn't need much improvement is in the classroom, where he excels. That's part of what makes him so desirable to the big-time schools.

Lawal also needs to get stronger, and Martin said he's already seen improvement in that area – with Lawal now being able to bench-press 255 pounds, up from 205 when he first arrived at Norcross.

"Offensively, in the post, he's doing a good job posting and using his body to free himself so he can get the ball," Martin said. "He's not just depending on us to get it to him."

"When he first got here, he didn't really have a face-up game," added Martin. "But he's got some range. So far, he's 2-for-2 from 3-point land."

"His defensive game is superior to his offensive game," he continued. "He moved so well, has great range of motion and good instincts on the defensive end. He blocks a lot of shots."

"He's far from as good as he can be," Martin said. "His upside is tremendous. He's so athletic and runs the floor well."

Gani Lawal Profile

Inside Carolina Top Stories