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Carolina's Lawson, Ellington Going Pro

By April 24, 2009

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The national champions will have to defend their title without their starting backcourt; North Carolina's Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington have opted to forgo their senior seasons at Chapel Hill and enter the 2009 NBA Draft.

Lawson had an outstanding junior season and was named ACC Player of the Year. He missed the ACC Tournament and Carolina's opening round game in the NCAA Tournament with a foot injury, but was dominant thereafter, closing out the Tar Heels' championship run with a masterful 21-point, eight steal performance in the title game against Michigan State.

Ellington was Carolina's third-leading scorer this season. and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four after scoring 39 combined points in wins over Villanova and Michigan State.

Both players are projected as late lottery/mid first-round picks.

The defections of the two junior guards means the champs will lose their top four scorers from this year's team -- Lawson and Ellington, and seniors Tyler Hansbrough and Danny Green. But that's familiar territory for UNC coach Roy Williams, who lost the top seven scorers from his 2005 national title team, including underclassmen Marvin Williams, Raymond Felton, Sean May and Rashad McCants -- all of whom were selected in the top 14 picks of the 2005 NBA Draft.

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