Archive for Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Three Heels withdraw from draft

UNC to return top six players from Final Four team

June 17, 2008


North Carolina underclassmen Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green will return to Chapel Hill next season after removing their names from the NBA draft Monday.

The school's announcement came less than an hour before the deadline for underclassmen who had not hired agents to withdraw from the draft.

It means the Tar Heels figure to enter next year as prohibitive favorites to reach the Final Four. North Carolina will return its top six players while also adding one of the nation's top recruiting classes.

Other players withdrawing Monday were Texas guard A.J. Abrams; Arizona forward Chase Budinger; Ronald Steele of Alabama; Robert Dozier of Memphis; Jeremy Pargo of Gonzaga; UAB guard Robert Vaden; and Tennessee-Martin guard Lester Hudson.

UCLA's Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, DeAndre Jordan of Texas A&M;, California's Ryan Anderson and Alabama's Richard Hendrix will enter the NBA draft.

Abrams, Texas' career leader in three-pointers with 284, surprised many when he joined point guard D.J. Augustin in submitting his name for the draft. But Abrams never signed with an agent, allowing him to return to the Longhorns.

Next season, Texas will return four starters from a team that went 31-7, won a share of the Big 12 regular season championship and advanced to the NCAA regional finals.

The 6-foot-7 Budinger was Arizona's second-leading scorer last season at 17.1 points per game, and he averaged 5.4 rebounds.

Budinger said he wanted to play another season for coach Lute Olson, who took a leave of absence for personal reasons in 2007-08 but is back on the job.

Dozier joins teammate Antonio Anderson in pulling his name from draft consideration to return to a team that went 38-2 last season and lost in the national-title game.

Jordan, a 7-0 freshman center, told Aggies coach Mark Turgeon he would remain in the NBA draft with hopes of becoming the third Aggie taken in the first round since 2005.


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