Posted by: Matt Compton | April 9, 2008

Responding to the Lawson haters

Lawson post-loss

In the wake of Saturday’s loss, the only person who has faced more criticism than Roy Williams is Ty Lawson. In my mind, much of this griping is unfounded.

There is no denying that Lawson had a bad game. He didn’t make a jump shot until the final moments of the game, had as many turnovers as assists, and looked a step slow all night. But as I said in the comments below, I’m pretty sure he was playing hurt.

We know that Lawson took a hip check from David Padgett in the last seconds of the Louisville game. We know that the ankle he injured against Florida State never got back to 100 percent and has been heavily wrapped in every game he’s played since coming back. KU’s guards are fast and talented, but lets be honest, we didn’t watch the Ty Lawson we are used to seeing.

There have been more than a few people who have questioned his heart in the wake of the loss. But look at the picture above. Does that look like the image of a kid who didn’t care deeply about the outcome of the game?

I think it’s fair to say that Ty Lawson had more riding on his performance in the tournament than any other player on Carolina’s team. It’s no secret that he has wanted to make the jump to the league for awhile. At the beginning of the season, his prospects looked good, but then came the aforementioned ankle injury. Lawson needed to play at the very top of his game throughout March to leave a positive impression in the minds of NBA scouts. For three games, he did just that. But those aren’t the performances that anyone will remember.

That’s not to say that Lawson was trying to play for himself — the remarkable thing about his talents are how well they complement his teammates and the Carolina system. I believe he wanted a championship, believed that UNC deserved a championship, and in some way, blames himself because we didn’t have a chance to compete on Monday night.

Personally, I’d love to have him back next year, but I’ll be a fan of his no matter what he decides to do.

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