Georgia Tech basketball star Lawal headed to NBA

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ATLANTA -- Georgia Tech junior Gani Lawal announced Friday he will enter his name in the upcoming NBA Draft and will not play his senior year. Lawal, a 6-foot-9 forward from Norcross, forfeits his final year of eligibility.

"I am ready to take the next step in my basketball career and look forward to the upcoming process of getting ready for that," Lawal said.

Lawal actually entered his name last year and then withdrew before the deadline.

"I want to thank (head) coach (Paul) Hewitt and Georgia Tech for the opportunity to come to school here and play for the Yellow Jackets," Lawal added. "I've enjoyed my time at Tech and have benefitted greatly from it."

Hewitt said he hated to see Lawal leave, but understood the decision.

"We wish Gani the best, and I'm confident he will have a successful, professional career," Hewitt said. "Gani made significant contributions to our program during his three seasons, and I'm happy to have had the

opportunity to coach him. He has assured me that he will return to school at the appropriate time to complete his degree requirements."

Lawal was Tech's leading scorer and rebounder last season, averaging 13.1 points and 8.5 rebounds a game while converting 52.9 percent of his field goal attempts and blocking 49 shots during the season. He ranked third in the Atlantic Coast Conference in rebound average and 14th in scoring. He rose to 31st on Tech's all-time list for career points (1,167) and 12th for career rebounds (712).

The Tech junior earned third-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors for the second straight year and made the ACC All-Tournament second team as the Yellow Jackets won three games and reached the championship before losing to Duke.

Lawal's teammate, freshman Derrick Favors, is a probable top-five pick but has not announced his plans for the NBA Draft.