The Norcross boys basketball program hit it big again.
Another big-time post, rising junior Gani Lawal, has transferred into the district, giving head coach Eddie Martin's team an inside presence to replace the graduated Daniel Emerson, himself a Norcross transfer via Camden County. Another Division I-caliber transfer, Jodie Meeks of Roswell, joined the Blue Devils prior to last season.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Norcross is attracting marquee transfers. In the current state of high school athletics, kids seek out the best programs when they switch to another school. At Norcross, they see one of the best head coaches around, a talented group of kids and a large, enthusiastic pack of fans.
What amazes me is how fortunate Norcross has been to get transfers who are such great kids. You'd expect a bad seed that would disrupt team chemistry to come through once in awhile, but in summer league Lawal seems to fit in great with his teammates, just like Emerson and Meeks did before him.
Emerson and Meeks are high-level players as well as great kids, personality-wise and in the classroom. Lawal, who has a 3.7 grade-point average in honors classes, fits the same mold.
"He's a great kid, he really is," Martin said of Lawal. "He's willing to learn and really wants to come in here and get better."
Like Emerson and Meeks before him, Lawal listed basketball as a big reason for his move. One of the nation's top 10 rising juniors, the 6-foot-8, 210-pound post wanted a successful program where he could better his skills.
He played for a knowledgeable high school coach, David Boyd, the past two seasons at Riverdale, but the former Berkmar coach stepped down after this season. By joining Martin, Lawal thinks his skills will develop greatly in the next two years.
"Norcross has a great program and I can grow as a player and as a person here," Lawal said. "Norcross has a great academic program. Coach Martin is great. He's a hard-working coach who expects a lot from his players and cares a lot about his players. What more could you want as a player?"
Still 16 years old, Lawal is a dynamic player already holding offers from Georgia and Georgia Tech. Effective down low, he also has a nice perimeter shot and is adept at driving to the basket. He also has added 15 pounds to his frame since the high school season and is ready to give it his all at a new school.
"I want to keep working, keep building team chemistry," Lawal said. "We have a bright future with this team."
Will Hammock can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org . His column appears on