Future uncertain for UNC stars
By Bret Strelow
The UNC notebook …
SAN ANTONIO ó North Carolina coach Roy Williams sent four walk-ons into the game to join senior Quentin Thomas for the final 20.9 seconds of the Tar Heels’ 84-66 loss to Kansas on Saturday night.
Thomas was on the floor for the end of his college career. It’s uncertain whether standouts such as Tyler Hansbrough or Ty Lawson will reappear in a UNC lineup.
Hansbrough, a junior forward, had 17 points and nine rebounds in the Final Four loss to the Jayhawks, who will face Memphis for the national title on Monday.
He must decide if he wants to return for his senior season or opt for the NBA.
“Man, I’m not even going to talk about that because I haven’t thought about that,” Hansbrough said.
Hansbrough, a three-time All-American who was named the national player of the year by The Associated Press on Friday, has scored 2,168 career points. He ranks behind only Phil Ford (2,290) on UNC’s all-time list.
“Tyler and I talked before the season and said we would discuss it after the season’s over with,” Williams said. “We’ll probably sit down Tuesday or Wednesday and try to start making some decisions. Maybe not some decisions, but come up with a plan to give me some time to look into it with NBA people.”
Lawson, a sophomore point guard, completed an injury-plagued season with nine points and two assists against the Jayhawks.
He said he plans to talk to his father and Williams before making a decision about his future.
“No gut feeling right now,” Lawson said. “I’m still getting over this loss.”
TOUGH START: Lawson shot two layups in the first four minutes against Kansas, and both were airballs. His night didn’t get much better.
Lawson scored five points in the final 1:36, and he finished 2-for-8 from the field against a defense that blocked nine UNC shots.
“I felt like I got by them, but I just had nowhere to go after I did that,” Lawson said.
“When I went to the basket, there was so much help right there. They collapsed, rotated real well, and normally I have a passing lane to Tyler or Deon (Thompson).”
LEADING THE CHARGE: Reserve forward Danny Green drew Williams’ ire for complaining to an official after being called for a lane violation in the first half, but he gave UNC a chance to come back from a 28-point deficit.
Green hit two 3-pointers and a layup during a 15-2 run late in the first half that pulled UNC within 42-27, and he scored five straight points in a 17-2 run that cut Kansas’ second-half lead to four.
“We had to keep attacking, so I just started attacking the basket and was looking to shoot,” Green said. “Nobody else was really looking to shoot, and they were doubling Tyler. We didn’t really have anybody knocking down outside shots.”
Contact Bret Strelow at 704-797-4258 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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