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Split decision for Blue Devils

Give Gani Lawal and Jodie Meeks credit for being patient.

The former Norcross standouts waited until the final weekend before making decisions on their status for next week's NBA Draft. They went through the pre-draft process, traveled the country for workouts and talked with team after team.

They put deep thought into their decisions, even if they made opposite ones this week - Lawal opting to stay at Tech and Meeks choosing the draft. By waiting so long, it also guaranteed that they made the right decisions.

For Lawal, it gives him another year to improve his game. If he makes as many offseason strides as he did between his freshman and sophomore seasons, it will make him a lottery pick in 2010.

He's an NBA-level athlete, like Meeks, so a little more experience will pay off for him in the future. And he also gets to play for what should be a really good Tech team next season.

For Meeks, it made sense to go pro now. He is coming off a tremendous season when he led the SEC in scoring and dropped 54 on Tennessee. It would be tough to match that kind of season individually, although he would join a much improved Kentucky team for the 2009-10 season.

Although the mock drafts haven't shown him much love, expect Meeks to be a first-round pick next week. Once he gets to the league, he'll prove to some team that it made a smart choice.

As for Lawal, he'll go back to the ACC and compete with former Norcross teammate Al-Farouq Aminu, a Wake Forest forward who likely will join Lawal as a first-round pick in 2010.

No Norcross-Findlay Prep

Basketball fans hoping to see the Findlay Prep boys - the reigning USA Today and ESPN/Rise Invitational national champions - will get a chance Jan. 23 when Norcross hosts its Bring Your A Game to the A event.

Just don't plan on seeing the Nevade power against a Georgia team.

"We'd love to play them, but I don't think the GHSA would like that," Norcross boys coach Jesse McMillan said.

The Georgia High School Association won't allow its members to play a team like Findlay Prep, a privately funded basketball academy. GHSA teams can only play member schools or schools that are members of another state's high school athletic association (Findlay Prep isn't a member of Nevada's association). The team's unique background - its Division I-laden roster last season included players from all over the globe - was featured recently in Sports Illustrated.

Will Hammock can be reached via e-mail at will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Thursdays.