March 16, 2009
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech sophomore Gani Lawal has been named Georgia Men’s College Basketball Player of the Year by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, the organization announced Monday.
Lawal, a 6-9 post player from Norcross, Ga., who attended Norcross High School, was one of several award winners in the state of Georgia announced Monday. The Georgia Women’s College Player of the Year was Katie Kulavic, who grew up in Norcross but attended St. Pius X and stars for Oglethorpe University. They are joined as winners by Ron Sattele (Oglethorpe) and Dip Metress (Augusta State), the Georgia Women’s and Men’s College Coaches of the Year honorees. Chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Georgia Selection Committee, the winners will be honored at the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Naismith Awards banquet presented by AT&T and Delta Air Lines on March 23 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta.
“We continue to see homegrown players succeed at all levels, which is a testament to the depth of basketball talent in the state of Georgia,” said Gary Stokan, Atlanta Tipoff Club president.
Lawal earned third team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) honors while averaging 15 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. His 55 percent field goal shooting ranked second in the conference and he led the ACC in double-doubles with 14. Statistically, Lawal was the most improved player in the conference.
Award winners were announced as follows:
State of Georgia Women’s College Player of the Year: Katie Kulavic, Oglethorpe University – The 5’7 senior guard led the Stormy Petrels to its first-ever Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) championship in women’s basketball and a berth in the NCAA tournament, where they lost to George Fox University in the sectionals. The reigning conference Player-of-the-Year was selected first team All-SCAC becoming the second player in conference history to be a first team selection in four consecutive seasons. Kulavic averaged 15 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists per game this season while becoming the SCAC’s all-time leading scorer for both men’s and women’s basketball.
Whack Hyder State of Georgia Women’s College Coach of the Year: Ron Sattele, Oglethorpe University – In just his fifth season at the helm of the Oglethorpe University Women’s Basketball program, Sattele led the Stormy Petrels to its first-ever Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) championship and a third-straight berth in the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball National Tournament, where they lost to George Fox University in the sectionals. The former head coach at St. Pius X High School in Atlanta has amassed more than 100 victories during his tenure at Oglethorpe.
Whack Hyder State of Georgia Men’s College Coach of the Year: Dip Metress, Augusta State – The Peach Belt Conference (PBC) regular-season champion and PBC Tournament champion, Augusta State earned the regional’s No. 1 seed in the NCAA Division II tournament, the Jags’ third straight NCAA Tournament appearance and fifth trip in the past nine seasons. The Jaguars have reached the NCAA Southeast Regional Championship game for the second consecutive year and are now seeking a trip to the Elite Eight. Augusta State has won 14 in a row and has improved to 28-4 on the season, setting a new school record for wins in a season. Metress’ has had winning seasons in each of his five campaigns at Augusta State.
ABOUT THE ATLANTA TIPOFF CLUB
The Atlanta Tipoff Club, an Atlanta Sports Council property, is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club has presented the Naismith Trophy since UCLA’s Lew Alcindor first won the award in 1969.
The Naismith Awards program has become an emblem of excellence for the game, recognizing the Men’s and Women’s College Player of the Year, Men’s and Women’s Coach of the Year, as well as awards for outstanding achievement in high school basketball, officiating, and overall contribution to the game.