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April 23, 2009

Next Level

CHAPEL HILL --- In a Thursday afternoon press conference in the Smith Center, North Carolina junior guards Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington put an end to the suspense regarding whether or not they would head to the NBA or return to UNC for their senior seasons.

As widely expected, both players announced that they will be taking their talents to the NBA.

"After a lot of though and discussion with my family, I've decided to forgo my senior season and enter the NBA Draft," said Lawson. "It's hard to leave Carolina because of all the great memories and the things you learn in college."

"I got a lot of information, and I've also decided to forgo my senior season and enter the NBA Draft," said Ellington. "It was definitely a tough decision. I loved my time here at Carolina and had a lot of fun, and there was no better way to end it than the way we did."

Ellington, the most valuable player of North Carolina's 2009 Final Four triumph in Detroit, set a Final Four record for highest three-point percentage, making eight of 10 shots (80 percent). The new mark broke the one previous set by Tar Heel Donald Williams in UNC's Final Four victory in New Orleans.

Lawson, who earned the Cousy Award as the nation's top point guard, was the first point guard named ACC Player of the Year since 1978, when UNC's Phil Ford was the winner.

A first-team All-American by several outlets, including Sports Illustrated, the NABC, and second-team All-American by the Associated Press, Lawson's No. 5 jersey will be honored by North Carolina.

Both Lawson and Ellington tested the NBA waters last year without hiring agents, which opened the door for them to return to UNC and help the Tar Heels win the NCAA title. The option of entering the Draft and not hiring an agent is not allowed two times, which means that Lawson and Ellington are absolutely heading to the NBA and have played their last games for the Tar Heels.

Stay tuned for more from the Smith Center on this breaking news story.


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