Lawal declares for NBA draft

After testing the NBA waters a year ago, Georgia Tech forward Gani Lawal is ready to jump into the draft pool with both feet.

The Norcross grad announced Friday he is skipping his senior season to enter this summer's NBA draft.

He made a similar announcement this time last year, but did not hire an agent and withdrew his name and returned to Tech weeks later after working out for several NBA teams.

This time, however, the 6-foot-9, 234-pound forward has no option to return, and he says he is looking forward to the next part of his career.

"I am ready to take the next step in my basketball career and look forward to the upcoming process of getting ready for that," Lawal said in a statement released by Georgia Tech. "I want to thank Coach (Paul) Hewitt and Georgia Tech for the opportunity to come to school here and play for the Yellow Jackets. I've enjoyed my time at Tech and have benefited greatly from it. I intend to continue to work toward earning in Management."

Lawal ends his Tech career as the Yellow Jackets' No. 12 all-time leading rebounder with 712 and was No. 31 on the all-time scoring list with 1,167 points.

He earned third-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors the past two seasons and helped lead Tech to the second round of the NCAA tournament this season.

He finishes his career averaging 11.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots per game in 99 games with the Jackets.

"We wish Gani the best, and I'm confident he will have a successful, professional career," Hewitt said in a statement released by Tech on Friday. "Gani made significant contributions to our program during his three seasons, and I'm happy to have had the opportunity to coach him."

Lawal's departure could have a major impact on Tech's inside game next season, especially with Zachery Peacock having exhausted his eligibility and freshman Derrick Favors, a probable top-five pick, yet to announce his plans for the NBA draft.

The Associated Press contributed to this report