Class of 2007 five-star prospect Gani Lawal maintains his top five schools have not changed but coaches from those programs will have to travel to a different location to see him play next year. The 6-foot-8, 205-pound forward has transferred to a new school in the Atlanta area and is gearing up for a big year in the Peach State.
Lawal has been playing well in the early going on the AAU circuit and now he's taking his improvements to Norcross (Ga.) High School. The No. 14 ranked player in the class of 2007 has transferred from Riverdale High School and will finish his high school career at one of the top programs in the Peach State.
"It's a good fit for me here," Lawal said of his new school. "It's a good program both academically and athletically plus I think I have a better chance of winning a championship before I graduate. It's a top notch school. I think I can really improve under Coach (Eddie) Martin. They play my style of basketball."
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Now that he has found a new high school, Lawal knows the recruiting process will take a new form over the summer. He's maintained a list of five schools of Duke, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky and North Carolina for the last six months and turns programs away when they make their respective pitches.
"I've always liked those schools and I always told myself that if I can have a chance to play at those schools that I would do whatever it takes to get there," Lawal said.
"Obviously, I grew up watching Georgia and Georgia Tech and then I really started to like the other three when I grew up. I think all of those schools fit my style of play and the coaches are all fantastic."
Because he has already visited Duke and the Georgia schools, Lawal said he would like to visit North Carolina and Kentucky in the fall. With two years left in high school, the athletic big man knows he has time on his side. Don't expect a quick decision from him.
"I want to get my visits in so that at the end of my junior year I can be worry free and commit," Lawal said. "I don't want to have the stress of finding a place to go to school."
Outside of recruiting, Lawal has been constantly working on his game. He shined at the Southern Invitational and helped lead his Georgia Stars 16 and under team to the Final Four at the Nike Memorial Day Classic. Lawal recently returned to Georgia after playing at the Pangos All-American camp, where he starred amongst some of the nation's top players.
"I went in there with the mindset that I know I can score so I wanted to show that I can play defense and just be that defensive presence the whole time," Lawal said. "I tried to always keep my feet moving, have great timing, always put myself into a position to rebound and make plays. From the time I stepped onto the floor, I wanted to be a defensive stopper."
With time spent at the Pangos camp, Lawal said it prepared him for the upcoming Nike All-American camp.
"I think there is some correlation with the Pangos camp and the Nike camp," he said. "Obviously there are better players at the Nike camp. I'm really ready to get there and test myself even more."
His tests will be a plenty in July. And Lawal says he's ready to see how he measures up against his peers.