Hansbrough Returns; Lawson, Ellington Declare

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Tyler Hansbrough announced Friday that he will return for his senior year. Sophomores Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson said they are declaring for the NBA Draft, but will not hire agents.

"I love playing at North Carolina and still have big dreams to realize here, including graduating," Hansbrough said. "Of course I look forward to playing in the NBA some day but not next year.

Hansbrough is coming off a season in which he averaged 22.6 points and 10.2 rebounds, winning all major National Player of the Year awards -- The Associated Press, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, Sporting News, the Naismith Award and the Wooden Award -- which qualifies him to have his jersey retired at North Carolina.

"I love my collegiate experience and want to finish my four years here, then move on to my next dream of playing in the NBA," he said. "I am very relieved that this decision is behind us and I can concentrate on my academic work and improving my game for next season."

Hansbrough is poised to break UNC's career scoring and rebounding marks during his senior season, as he is now the No. 2 all-time scorer (2,168 points) and No. 7 all-time rebounder (943 rebounds).

National draft analysts currently project Lawson as a low first round pick and Ellington as a second round pick. Lawson is ranked by ESPN as the No. 28 overall prospect, while Ellington checks in at No. 51.

"I will work out for NBA teams to get a more precise evaluation of my draft status," Lawson said. "After I do that and get more information from the teams, I will make a decision to either stay in the draft or come back to North Carolina for my junior year. I am in good standing academically and plan on doing a great job in my final exams."

Ellington said: "I really enjoy North Carolina and my teammates. I'm not dying to leave here, but playing in the NBA is another dream I have. During the next couple of months I hope to work out for NBA teams and get a more specific evaluation of where I would be positioned in this year's draft. After I receive the information from the NBA teams, I will decide to either stay in the draft or come back for my junior year. Next week is exam time at UNC and that's also important to me. I will continue to remain in good academic standing regardless of the decision that awaits me."

Lawson, who missed seven games in 2007-08 due to an ankle injury, averaged 12.7 points and 5.2 assists on the season. Ellington averaged 16.6 points and shot 40.0 percent on his three-point attempts.

The NBA's Draft Camp in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. is May 27-June 2 and players are not allowed to conduct individual workouts with teams until June 3. Players who enter without an agent have until 5 p.m. on June 16 to withdraw. The draft is June 26 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

"I am pleased and most supportive of the decisions made by all three young people," Roy Williams said. "I want what is best for each individual and each individual player is different and has different factors to consider.

"It was a very exhausting time of research spent talking to the NBA people. I contacted more than half the teams in the NBA, speaking to various player personnel representatives including a number of general managers. In fact, I contacted more teams this year than I've ever done before to provide them with the best information possible on their draft status. We gave that information over to Tyler, Ty, Wayne and their families and allowed them to make the decision.

"We will continue to help Ty and Wayne with the draft process and give them all the support they need in making any future decisions related to staying in the draft or returning to Carolina."

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