It's one thing to be a sophomore and already narrow a recruiting list down to a top five. But it's another thing to be a sophomore with a list of five of the top basketball universities in the country. That's the plan for Gani Lawal, a 6-foot-8, 205-pound forward from Riverdale (Ga.) High School. Heading into the AAU season, Lawal breaks down his current top five for Rivals.com.
Lawal, the No. 14 ranked player in the class of 2007, finished a somewhat disappointing season with his Riverdale team. The young team didn't [check out their final record and playoff run.]
Amidst the season, Lawal made an unofficial visits to Duke, Georgia and Georgia Tech. Those three programs, Kentucky and North Carolina round out his top five schools. Each school has positives with the five-star prospect.
He made the trip to Durham in the fall and came home impressed with the Blue Devils.
"With Duke, it is the tradition, the pageantry, everything at the university is enough to lure any prospect there," Lawal said. "I love what they have to offer. Coach K is an excellent coach that has a good coaching staff. Their players have a good history in college and at the NBA."
Lawal was also a familiar face at Georgia Tech games this season. He was in attendance for the thrilling 102-101 Yellow Jacket victory over Wake Forest.
"Georgia Tech is a real good team, real good coach and a real good coaching staff. I really like coach Paul Hewitt. He's got a good, close-knit relationship with his players. He lets the players play but he keeps a real good structure and with guidance."
Staying in-state, Lawal likes the job going on in Athens with the young Bulldogs.
"With the University of Georgia, Coach Dennis Felton has a vision. He dreams. If he keeps that going, I wouldn't mind being a part of that," Lawal said. "He has a positive mindset and always working hard. He's a player's coach."
Tubby Smith and the University of Kentucky is also in the mix. The Wildcats came to the metro Atlanta area to see him play against East Hall High School, a team who many believe to be one of the top five teams in the country. UK has certainly caught the attention of Lawal.
"Kentucky is a real good team. They have a good program," he said. "They run the program real official. I like what they have there. I wouldn't mind being a part of them someday since they are in my top five."
North Carolina has a player that Lawal relates to.
"Carolina is a real good school. I like Roy Williams. He's a real good coach. I like their up and down style. I like Marvin Williams. I kind of see myself in that same kind of role. I feel like there is a lot I could do if I were to go to that institution."
Lawal, a great student-athlete, is going to make a well-educated decision. He'll look at everything. There won't be a stone left unturned. The detail-oriented young man is also quick to point out that the top five isn't set in stone, either.
"I liked them all. I'm trying to weigh my options and determine what college I'm going to be going to. All of them are great programs. I want to see what they all have to offer," Lawal said. "I never close my eyes to any institution. I'm open to all of them. It might just turn so I have to keep it open."