College Basketball Notebook: Will Lawson, Ellington return? Stay tuned
The college basketball notebook …
DETROIT ó North Carolina had to wait nearly two months last year to find out whether Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington would stay in the NBA draft or return to school.
Now, with a championship in hand, the waiting begins again for the Tar Heels.
Ellington said it was too soon to say whether he will return for his senior season after being named the most outstanding player at the Final Four. Lawson said the same thing.
“I don’t know yet,” Lawson said when asked whether it was his last college game. “I’m going to go back and talk to my parents and see what they want to do and see what the best option is for me.”
However, freshman big man Ed Davis ó who had 11 points and eight rebounds in 14 minutes ó said he’s coming back.
“I will be back next year,” Davis said. “I mean, I’m just not ready. I’ll be back in class on Wednesday.”
SPENT GINYARD: Marcus Ginyard didn’t play a minute for North Carolina, but he looked exhausted nonetheless.
The senior was the versatile leader of last year’s Final Four squad and the team’s best perimeter defender. But preseason foot surgery forced him to redshirt this year, sending him to the sidelines after three ineffective appearances in a slow recovery.
That didn’t mean Ginyard ó who has been practicing with the team ó wasn’t active during the win against Michigan State. He was jumping around on the bench as the final minutes of the game ticked away, then joined his teammates for a midcourt celebration at the horn.
Afterward, wearing a dress shirt and tie along with a championship hat, he slouched in a locker at Ford Field.
“I just feel so drained right now,” he said. “I just left everything out there. I feel like I played tonight. You’re just so happy. You’re so excited. Any positive emotion you can think of, you’re probably feeling it.”
VALIDATED: North Carolina freshman Tyler Zeller could have redshirted after breaking his wrist in the second game of the season. Instead, he came back after missing 13 weeks, because he wanted to help the Tar Heels win a national championship.
He returned in February against North Carolina State, giving him the guarantee of just five regular-season games, along with at least one game in the ACC and NCAA tournaments.
Instead, he ended up playing 13 games ó including 1 minute of action in the title game against Michigan State. He went 1-for-2 from the foul line and had one rebound.
Did the title validate his decision to burn a year of eligibility for what amounted to less than half a season?
“Definitely,” he said in the victorious locker room. “It was validated before, but at the same time, this is just extra on the top.”
RECORD CROWD: They came wearing green, hoping their Spartans could give a boost to a city needing any kind of emotional lift. And they packed Ford Field in record numbers, too. Wearing MSU green or NC’s light blue, 72,922 fans filled the national championship game on Monday night, setting a championship game record.
The Final Four attracted a two-day attendance total of 145,378 in a stadium normally used for football.
“Everybody will have their own opinion of Detroit and what happened in this tournament,” Spartans coach Tom Izzo said. “But if there was a more beautiful setting for a college basketball weekend as far as in this arena, the job that everybody did, I would just like to thank you, take my hat off to ’em.”
WILD TIME: Authorities have reported 12 fires and 21 arrests in East Lansing, the city that’s home to Michigan State University after its basketball team lost the national title.
GOING PRO: Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin will give up his final two years of eligibility and head to the NBA after a sophomore season in which he was honored as college basketball’s top player.
He led the nation with 30 double-doubles and 14.4 rebounds per game while also averaging a Big 12-best 22.7 points. In the NCAA tournament, he was even better ó averaging 28.5 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Sooners to the regional finals, where they lost to eventual national champion North Carolina.
– Kentucky guard Jodie Meeks will test the NBA waters before deciding whether to return for his senior year. Meeks will submit his name for the NBA draft but will not hire an agent. He averaged 23.7 points last season ó eighth in the country and tops in the SEC ó and poured in a school-record 54 points in a win over Tennessee in January.
– South Carolina’s 5-foot-9 junior Devan Downey is making himself eligible for the NBA draft without hiring an agent.
MILLER’S CONTRACT: Arizona has lured Xavier’s Sean Miller with a five-year contract that pays him a base salary of $2 million per year plus a $1 million signing bonus.
Miller was introduced Tuesday as the replacement for Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson.
JORDAN’S SON: The son of Michael Jordan has announced that he will be playing basketball at Central Florida next season.Marcus Jordan, a 6-foot-3 and 180-pound senior guard at Chicago Whitney Young, made up his mind after visiting the campus in Orlando, Fla., last week.
Jordan led his team to the Illinois state championship.
NAISMITH COACH: Pitt coach Jamie Dixon has been named the Naismith men’s coach of the year after leading the Panthers to a school-record 31 wins and the NCAA tournament regional finals.
Pitt has won 20 or more games for the eighth straight year.
By Nancy Armour Associated Press DETROIT ó Michigan State has been itching for this do-over since December. Not only is... read more