|Tar Heel trio eager to see what draft chances await|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 27 May 2008 23:38|
Down on one end, three college teammates stayed on the floor, shooting together.
Apparently, North Carolina's early entry draft hopefuls aren't ready to split up yet.
The next few days will go a long way in helping Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green each make a huge choice: return to Chapel Hill for another season of chasing a national championship, or decide the time is right to enter the NBA.
``It's a big decision,'' Ellington said. ``But this week, we're just going to worry about playing.''
Green said he will likely go pro if he's a lottery selection on draft night, June 26. Lawson wants to be a top-20 pick. Ellington is curious to learn if he would get selected by the latter point of the first round.
For now, it's all still a mystery.
But by the time this camp - which brings together 60 or so draft hopefuls, not including a number of lottery locks like Michael Beasley, Derrick Rose and O.J. Mayo, to play before dozens of NBA coaches, scouts and executives - closes on Friday, the Tar Heel trio will have plenty of information to help shape their decisions.
``I know I can compete. I feel I can compete anywhere,'' Green said. ``I just want to see how well I can compete. I want to know where I stand. The objective is to get drafted. And if it doesn't work out, I have the option of going back to school. So it's great for me. I have nothing to lose if I go back to school.''
All three say they don't expect to make their final decisions much before the NBA's cutoff date for the draft, June 15.
Clearly, though, this week will weigh heavily for each in that process.
``It feels like I'm holding all the cards,'' Lawson said. ``And it feels good. I wouldn't want someone else holding my cards.''
The Tar Heels went 36-3 this past season, losing to eventual national champion Kansas in the Final Four, and already have a huge boost for next year in that national player of the year Tyler Hansbrough quickly decided that he'd return for his senior season in Chapel Hill.
Ellington, Lawson and Green - the Heels' three leading scorers after Hansbrough - all acknowledge that the idea of another season in Carolina blue is tempting.
Of course, so is the lure of NBA riches, a notion none of the three can ignore.
``I'm trying not to really think about it,'' Green said. ``I'm more about competing and trying to be the best and not looking toward the money and things.
``On draft night, yeah, I'll be thinking about the money. It's an issue. I get reminded all the time by family and friends that this is a business, about money,'' Green added. ``But for now, I just want to be one of the top kids in this camp and one of the top kids in this draft.''
Ellington says he's in perfect shape these days, which bodes well for him entering the harried predraft schedule.
Lawson and Green, however, might have a bit to prove.
Lawson struggeld with a nasty sprained left ankle through much of the second half of the season, but participated in the first predraft session Tuesday night without a brace or tape on the joint - which he says is so strong; the 5-foot-11 point guard is dunking again. Green has a balky left foot, which seems to be limiting his explosiveness.
``It doesn't look good for me right now,'' Green said.
He plans on working through three more days at the Disney complex, and from here, all three plan on making several individual visits with NBA teams, trips that their coaches back in Chapel Hill help put together as a way of guiding them through the frenzied process.
In a couple of weeks, they'll huddle with family and other advisers, each deciding what's the best plan for them.
``I felt like it would be a good idea to come down here and play and try to solidify a spot in the first round,'' Ellington said. ``I'm not worried about getting too much feedback right now. I just want to play and do well.''
And most Carolina fans want to see that, too.
Unless, of course, they all want to come back and add another national championship to the Heels' storied legacy.
``I feel like it might be my time to go,'' Lawson said. ``But if they all decide to come back, it might be different, because we all still want that championship. We'll see.''