Williams says trio still undecided on NBA
By Aaron Beard
CHAPEL HILL ó North Carolina underclassmen Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington ó who led the Tar Heels to the Final Four ó remain undecided about whether to enter the NBA draft, coach Roy Williams said Thursday night.
Williams said he is still gathering information about where the trio would likely be picked in this yearís draft, adding that he will have contacted 18 NBA teams by this afternoon either directly or through the leagueís undergraduate advisory committee. The deadline for underclassmen to declare is April 27.
iWeíre not finished with the process right now,î Williams said after the teamís end-of-year ceremony.
The three players did not talk about their futures during the ceremony at the Smith Center. Hansbrough and Lawson each briefly addressed fans in attendance after winning team awards, but they all were unavailable to reporters afterward.
Hansbrough, selected the national player of the year by The Associated Press, is a 6-foot-9 junior who averaged 22.6 points and 10.2 rebounds while leading UNC (36-3) to the winningest season in school history. Ellington, a sophomore, was the teamís No. 2 scorer at nearly 17 points per game, and fellow sophomore Lawson averaged about 13 points while directing Williamsí fast-paced offense.
At least one fan in attendance offered his opinion, shouting iOne more year, Tyler!î at the end of the ceremony. But junior Marcus Ginyard said the team has tried to avoid the topic completely.
iI donít want to know honestly,î he said. iI just hope everybody comes back. Iím sure these guys are really thinking hard about their decision, but Iíve got no information about that.î
Still, Ginyard admitted he was anxious, and itís easy to understand why.
If the three come back, North Carolina will return its top eight players while adding one of the nationís top recruiting classes. If they donít, the Tar Heels will have to rebuild in much the same fashion they did after losing four underclassmen to the NBA and their top seven scorers overall from the 2005 title-winning team.
Hansbrough faced questions all season about his future, but he remained adamant that his only goal was to lead his team to the national championship. The Tar Heels got back to the Final Four before losing to eventual champion Kansas in San Antonio.
By winning numerous national player of the year awards, Hansbrough has ensured that he will become only the eighth player in school history to have his jersey retired when he leaves school.
He enters next season ranked second on the schoolís career list with 2,168 points, putting him 122 behind Phil Ford for the record. If he returns, heíll likely pass Ford in the first few weeks of the season and would be within reach of the ACC career mark set by Dukeís J.J. Redick (2,769 points) in 2006.
Gene Hansbrough, Tylerís father, said late last month that he didnít know what his son would decide.
iHeís very happy in Chapel Hill, and he likes being a college student,î he said. iHeís a frugal person. He doesnít need Rolexes and Escalades to be a happy person. … They may have to redshirt him to get him out of there.î
At Thursdayís banquet, Hansbrough was named the teamís MVP. He also won awards as the best rebounder and field-goal percentage leader.
Ginyard (best defender) and senior point guard Quentin Thomas (most inspirational and most improved player) were also honored, and they were named permanent captains in a vote of the teammates and coaches.
Other award recipients included Lawson (most assists), Danny Green (highest free-throw percentage) and Bobby Frasor (scholar-athlete).