Georgia Tech’s Recruiting Woes

February 3, 2009

You’ve got to wonder how Paul Hewitt will be able to continue to cope with what has become a standard M.O. during his tenure as the head coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Every year or two Hewitt brings in top recruits, such as this year’s Iman Shumpert, or a few years ago with Chris Bosh, and watches them bolt for the NBA before they ever get a chance to really make an impact on the program.

Unlike other programs, like Duke and UNC, Georgia Tech hasn’t managed to recover as quickly from NBA defections. With a top tier class coming in from 2009, including Derrick Favors (PF, 6’9″, 2009), it would appear that Hewitt’s Jackets might be the sleeper team for the 2009-10 season.

But not so fast.

It turns out that already, even in a lackluster season, players on the roster are looking toward the league, and the league is interested. Gani Lawal, a 6’9″ Sophomore, is projected to be a potential lottery pick in the next draft:

With 19 NBA scouts and executives watching him play Saturday, Gani Lawal gave an impressive performance.

The sophomore made 7 of 10 shots from the field and 11 of 14 from the free-throw line, and he grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked two shots in Georgia Tech’s upset of Wake Forest.

What this means for recruiting is that if Lawal goes pro, suddenly a team deep at the post with NBA talent is right back where they started. What Paul Hewitt needs to really compete in the ACC is more than a couple of NBA prospects; Duke, Wake and UNC are loaded with NBA prospects and more are coming.

However, Lawal’s not a given to go pro early:

“I plan on being here,” Lawal said. “I just want to keep playing, take it day by day and see where it goes. When the season’s over and everything is in the books, I’ll just sit down, discuss it and see. … Right now I can’t even begin to get into it.”

If Lawal returns, expect Georgia Tech to be one of the better teams next season.