June 15, 2009
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech sophomore Gani Lawal said Monday he has removed his name from the upcoming NBA draft, and will remain at Tech for his junior year.
Lawal, a 6-9 forward from Norcross, Ga., averaging 15.1 points and a team-high 9.5 rebounds per game, and was statistically the most improved player in the Atlantic Coast Conference. His return gives the Yellow Jackets four starters back from last year’s team and five returning starters altogether.
A third-team All-ACC selection in 2009, Lawal finished second in the conference in rebounding and field goal percentage (55.6 pct.). He posted 15 double-doubles in points and rebounding, leading the ACC, during the year.
“We’re happy for Gani that he’s reached a decision,” said head coach Paul Hewitt. “Gani’s return may be the most significant factor for our team’s success looking ahead to next season.
“He made tremendous progress between his freshman and sophomore years and feel he can make even more progress in his junior season. He certainly will receive consideration for player of the year honors in the ACC. By returning to school, he also remains on schedule to graduate in May of 2011.”
“Going through the process of dealing with the NBA teams was definitely a positive experience for me,” said Lawal. “I learned a lot about my game and what I need to work on, and coming back to school will be very beneficial toward that end. I’ll also be a year closer to graduating, and I’m excited about the team we’ll have next year.”
Tech’s other returning starters from last year’s squad include 6-9 senior forward Zachery Peacock, 6-2 junior point guard Maurice “Moe” Miller and 6-5 sophomore guard Iman Shumpert. The Jackets also return a pair of solid bench players in 7-0 junior center Brad Sheehan and 6-5 junior guard Lance Storrs. D’Andre Bell, a 6-5 senior who sat out last season after spinal surgery, also returns. Joining them is a recruiting class ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation.