I needed to some good news after Carolina got spanked in the Final Four. I got it today off the wire:
North Carolina’s hopes of returning to the Final Four got a big boost Monday.
Underclassmen Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green — who helped the Tar Heels to the winningest season in school history last year — will withdraw their names from the NBA draft and instead return to school and play next season in Chapel Hill.
The school’s announcement came less than an hour before the deadline for underclassmen who had not hired agents to withdraw from the draft.
All three players had participated in the NBA’s predraft camp in Orlando before working out for individual teams in recent weeks. They had all said they would stay in the draft if they were certain first-round picks, but coach Roy Williams said “the timing was just not exactly right at this point.”
“It was a lengthy process, but one that is fair for these youngsters,” Williams said in a statement. “Everyone should have the right to be evaluated in terms of possibly reaching his dreams. … They had my 100 percent support throughout the process, regardless of which decision they might have made.”
The announcement means the Tar Heels will return their top six players from a team that won 36 games and reached the Final Four last season. Among the six is Tyler Hansbrough, who announced in April that he would return for his senior season. He is the first returning Associated Press national player of the year since LSU’s Shaquille O’Neal in 1991.
North Carolina will also return key reserve Bobby Frasor, who suffered a knee injury midway through last season.