CHAPEL HILL, NC -- Guess what, KU fans? North Carolina has become the clear-cut favorite to win the national title.
The Tar Heels trio of Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green are all headed back to Chapel Hill, UNC coach Roy Williams announced Monday.
Now the Tar Heels will return virtually everyone of note, since National Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough didn't even bother to test the NBA draft waters. Lawson, Ellington and Green each participated in the Orlando Pre-Draft Camp and also went through numerous workouts for NBA teams.
Green, who was injured in Orlando, told FOXSports.com previously that he would likely withdraw, while Lawson and Ellington appeared to have tougher decisions to make. Lawson was arrested last week for underage alcohol consumption, but it's unclear whether the incident played a part in his decision to return to school for his junior season.
"The process of 'testing the waters' has given me valuable information about my draft status, and I have decided it would be better to return to school," Lawson said in a UNC press release. "I love school, my teammates and coaching staff. I look forward to playing next season and trying to win a national championship."
The Tar Heels went 36-3 last season, winning the ACC regular season and tournament titles and reaching their 17th Final Four. But Roy's Boys were dismanted by KU on the Hawks way to the National Championship.
Long known for his exhaustive research with pro managers and scouts on behalf of his players, the UNC coach said in a press release, "After a long process of gathering information and sharing it with these youngsters, I stepped back and asked them to make their own decisions."
"I'm very pleased with their decisions because I get to coach them for another year. I'm also pleased that they went through the process and gained valuable information. It was reassuring that the feedback they got from the NBA teams is the same type of feedback our coaching staff has been giving them.
"It was a lengthy process, but one that is fair for these youngsters. Everyone should have the right to be evaluated in terms of possibly reaching his dreams. I feel strongly that all of these young men will eventually be NBA players. The timing was just not exactly right at this point. They had my 100 percent support throughout the process, regardless of which decision they might have made."