For Georgia State men’s basketball coach Rob Lanier, there have been new challenges and opportunities these past few months. With so much uncertainty surrounding the upcoming season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Coach Lanier has spent much of the quarantine with his family as well as planning for next season. He has really “enjoyed [the] unexpected family time.”
Lanier especially enjoys spending time with his son, Emory. Emory is a three-star point guard who played for Woodward Academy before committing to Davidson College last July.
As an Eagle, the six-foot three-inch Lanier averaged 11.4 points, 3.4 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 0.5 blocks in 31 games his senior campaign.
But the game of basketball goes beyond Emory and his dad.
Emory is a part of a big basketball family, along with his father, who also played point guard while in high school.
His sister, Kai Lanier, who is a rising senior at Woodward, plays shooting guard on the girl’s basketball team. Emory himself originally played shooting guard while in middle school but now plays point guard.
Emory grew up around basketball, beginning his hoop journey when he was just five years old. With his dad coaching Division I teams, Emory had the opportunity to spend time around great coaches such as Rick Barnes, Billy Donovan and Dave Leto in addition to future NBA draft picks Chandler Parsons and Myles Turner.
His father helped show him the ropes and really taught him how to play the game of basketball.
“I taught him how to go about putting the time into becoming a great player,” Coach Lanier said.
Emory describes his relationship with his father as being really great both “on and off the court.”
For example, Coach Lanier watches all of his son’s games on film, and after watching it, he coaches his son, providing guidance on what Emory should do.
“He’s always giving me pointers on what I can do better in,” Emory said.
The move from Knoxville to Atlanta with his family last April was initially a little hard on Emory, especially since he had just won a state championship at the Webb School of Knoxville.
He soon “got a good feeling this was a good move” for them, eventually adjusting to life in Atlanta, attending Woodward Academy and winning a state championship for the second consecutive year.
“Both of these years being so fun was probably the biggest takeaway from it,” Lanier said.
With recent racial tension and protests over the killings of several unarmed black men and women by police officers and vigilantes, Emory and his father have directly tackled the issue.
Coach Lanier talked to his son about dealing with people that have hate in their hearts towards Black people and taught him about being informed and registering to vote.
The thought of being pulled over by a racist police officer viewing him as a threat for his skin color scares Emory. But he does not always fear the police, believing that “not being in fear all the time is most important.”
Coach Lanier is hopeful that this lesson learned as a young Black male will lead to collective change to the system that allows these tragedies to keep happening due to the “collective fortitude that people have to seek change.”
Emory has dreamed of playing for the Davidson Wildcats since eighth grade. His favorite player, future NBA Hall of Fame point guard Stephen Curry, lit up scoreboards for three years at the school.
Nearly a decade later, Emory is looking forward to a great career of his own and what lies ahead for him.