Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Come On Back

Four underclassmen on North Carolina's basketball team have been subject to speculation that they would leave school early and declare for the NBA draft. Forward Brandan Wright, the ACC Rookie of the Year, is now the only one left to speculate about. Earlier this week, shooting guard Wayne Ellington declared his intention to return for his sophomore season. And tonight at the team's annual awards ceremony, Tyler Hansbrough had this to say:

"I've definitely decided that I will be back [for] my junior year. 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."

However, after receiving an award for leading the team in assists, point guard Ty Lawson let his intentions be known:

"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.

I'm hoping Wright follows suit before the April 29 deadline for early-entries into the NBA Draft. He could definitely use some work - and some muscle - before taking his game to the next level. But Carolina does have the depth to handle his loss if necessary - with rising sophomores Deon Thompson and Alex Stepheson.

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