Friday, March 30, 2007

Hoops - Out with the Old, In with the New

Two nice things happened this week in the world of Georgia Tech hoops. Our lone senior, Mario West, got to go out in a blaze of glory last night as he won the college slam dunk championship with what must have been an amazing mid-air, through-the-legs, slam-it-home, perfect-score-of-60 power dunk.

We all are incredibly proud of Mario for the work ethic, heart and stick-tuit-iveness he showed at Tech. He leaves a 100% YellowJacket through-and-through and he will go down in the books as a story of work, pride and success. His picture will be right next to PJ Daniels' in "the book".

And here is "the dunk" (at the end of the clip. check out Coach Hewitt's reaction - price-less)

So while we say goodbye to an old friend, we say hello to another - Gani Lawal. Ganie participated in the McDonald's High School All-American Game this week. How did he do? Try 12 rebounds (8 of them offensive) and 12 points (5-12) - all in 18 minutes. Gani did what only a few on the court were willing to do - the dirty work. He cleaned up the boards, setup other guys, ran the floor hard and didn't get fancy about any of it. It was a performance that in many ways highlights perfectly what Gani is about. Everything we can tell is that he's a guy who will play within his game, won't try to be something he's not, will run and run and run and run, has high character, is a great student, and has a pretty fun personality as well.

Here's what one website had to say about his performance:

Another one of the top performers of the night for the East was their extremely long and athletic big man Gani Lawal, who just wanted to do the dirty work for them all game long. No one played harder in Louisville, whether it was running the floor like a madman, being incredibly active on the glass, playing very strong defense, or trying to fight for position inside with Michael Beasley. 12 rebounds (8 offensive) in 18 minutes should give you an indication of the kind of nose for the ball that Lawal has, and when combined with his incredible wingspan and athleticism, we’re talking about a guy who can have a real impact in his career at Georgia Tech.

He runs the floor extremely well, has good, strong hands, and seems to be a reliable target to throw the ball to for lobs and easy finishes. He’s not the kind of guy that wants to get pretty around the hoop, he’ll just go up and dunk it if given the opportunity to. When he tries to start creating offense for himself is when things start getting murky for him. He doesn’t look to be the most polished guy in the world by any stretch, but has reportedly only been playing basketball for a few years now. Numerous people we know have gone out of their way to tell us how highly they think of Lawal’s attitude, character and work ethic, and that alone makes us think he’s got a pretty good chance to develop into an NBA prospect down the road.

In case you're curious, here are the McD AA's that suited up for GT (from RamblinRed at the Hive):

1983 Bruce Dalrymple
1984 Duane Ferrell
1985 Tom Hammonds
1986 Brian Oliver
1987 Dennis Scott
1989 Kenny Anderson, Darryl Barnes
1991 Travis Best, James Forrest
1992 Martice Moore (transferred to COL in 1994)
1995 Stephon Marbury
1996 Jason Collier (transferred to GT in 199
1997 Dion Glover
2002 Chris Bosh
2006 Javaris Crittenton, Thaddeus Young
2007 Gani Lawal

In addition, here is how Tech stacks up against other teams for MDAA's

North Carolina 48
Duke 39
Kansas 24
Kentucky 24
Michigan 17
Indiana 16
Louisville 16
Georgia Tech 15
Maryland 12