Lawson, Ellington PC: Quotes + Audio

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington announced Thursday that they are headed to the NBA. Listen to the press conference and read excerpts ...

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Part I -
Part II -
Part III -

Opening Remarks -

Williams: I think everyone realizes why we're here. These two young men have been fantastic for Roy Williams and North Carolina's basketball program because of these four people sitting here in front - Mr. and Mrs. Lawson, Mr. and Mrs. Ellington. They've done a magnificent job with building character and raising character - not just raising a young man - and I've benefited a great deal from having these young men with me and it's been a fun time ...

Lawson: After a lot of thought and discussion with my family, I've decided to forgo my senior year of college eligibility and make myself available for the NBA Draft. It's hard to leave Carolina because of all the great memories and things you learn in college. All the fun I've had with my teammates made it a hard decision making myself available for the NBA Draft - it's just tough leaving here.

Ellington: It was a lot of thinking from me with Coach and my family and we got a lot of information. I've also decided to forgo my senior season and declare myself eligible for the NBA Draft. It was definitely a tough decision, I love my time here at Carolina. We had a lot of fun and there's no better way to end it than the way we did. Just because I'm not going to be eligible to play here anymore doesn't mean I'm going to forget about my college education.

Can you reflect on the decision to come back for your junior seasons and finishing your college careers as national champions?

Ellington: I've always said it was one of the best decisions I've made in my life, to come back here and experience a national championship. It felt great - it was a feeling you can't really explain. And it's something we achieved as a team that worked so hard and nobody can take away from us. So I'm very happy with the decision to come back, obviously, and I am grateful I did make that decision.

Lawson: Same with Wayne, I'm glad I came back. Like he said, it was one of the best decisions of my life. I had a bad taste in my mouth about what happened last year and this year we won a championship - not too many people can say they've won a championship at the college level. To experience the surreal moment of winning the championship, with the streamers falling down ... it was one of the best decisions of my life.

Williams: I'll add something here too. I spoke to 13 different NBA teams over the last two weeks and every indication from those people is that this is a good time for these youngsters to do it. There's no question we love to have them, they've been great to me personally - it's been a great experience for me personally to watch them mature and grow. For Wayne to let me be able to say in practice: 'Do you know who our second leading rebounder is in conference play? It's Wayne Ellington.' To see how he's grown to be such a more complete player ... and for Ty, to see him mature and get better and better as a player but also get tougher and more mature mentally and physically... When you get information from 13 different teams that makes you feel this is a great decision and you see the development they've had over these past three years, it makes you feel good to be a part -- even if it's a really really small part - it's makes you feel good to be a part of it.

How do you feel about the team you're leaving behind and their chances moving forward?

Ellington: They've got a lot of potential - great guys on the team with a lot of great guys coming in. I'm looking forward to them making a deep run against next year. It'll be fun to watch. I'll miss playing with those guys, but it'll be fun to see what they accomplish next year.

Coach, do you rest any easier knowing that you've been through this post-championship rebuilding before?

Williams: No, I'm still scared to death about what's going to happen. Wayne answered the question like an alumni already - he's expecting us to win all of our games by 30. You're talking about two of the greatest kids I've ever coached, as basketball players and as people. So I'm going to miss them immensely off the court and definitely on the court. It'll be a huge challenge for other people, they've got to step up. Larry Drew's got to step up, Will Graves, Justin Watts, Marcus, all of those guys have to step up. We're probably thinner on the perimeter than any team I've ever had in terms of people who have done it. But that's also what's unique about college basketball. If those guys do step up and do it, it could be one of those fun, fun years.

This technically frees up a scholarship for next season - will you recruit to fill that spot?

Williams: We have 12 guys coming back on scholarship, so we do have that option. We'll have to wait and see what happens.

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