Wednesday, April 11, 2007

LAWSON, HANSBROUGH GOING AMATEUR

Tyler Hansbrough and Ty Lawson will return to North Carolina next season instead of entering the NBA draft early. "I've definitely decided that I will be back [for] my junior year," Hansbrough said Tuesday night after the team's annual awards ceremony. "Personally, I'm not ready for the next step of the NBA. "Playing [another] year with coach [Roy] Williams will help me improve my game individually. There's also some team things that I want to accomplish. College is a great experience for me, and I'd like to be here another year."

Lawson, who had the best assist-turnover ratio in the ACC, announced he would return for his sophomore season by deadpanning a joke during the ceremony at the Dean Smith Center.


"I just like being a college basketball player," Lawson said after the ceremony.

They became the third Tar Heels this week to announce they would return for another season, joining shooting guard
Wayne Ellington. School spokesman Steve Kirschner said ACC rookie of the year Brandan Wright has not made his decision and would have no immediate comment. The early-entry deadline is April 29.

Hansbrough was the ACC's fourth-leading scorer, its second-best rebounder and a consensus all-conference selection -- one of only four players in school history to be unanimously named all-ACC. Lawson ranked fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 10.2 points, and his assist-turnover ratio of 2.57 was the best ever by a North Carolina freshman.

Lawson's announcement was notable for its comic timing -- it came during his acceptance speech after he was honored for leading the team in assists. "After thinking about things, talking to my parents, I think it would be best if I took my skills to the NBA. I'm sorry," Lawson said.

Dead silence.

"I'm just playing -- I'll be back next year," Lawson quipped, drawing cheers from the crowd of about 1,000.

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