Search

1 North Carolina

Nov. 19, 2007
Nov. 19, 2007

Table of Contents
Nov. 19, 2007

SI Players: LIFE ON AND OFF THE FIELD
SI Fantasy Plus
PRO FOOTBALL
  • Behind their go-for-broke quarterback and two high-profile reclamation projects, the Cowboys overpowered the Giants to gain separation in the NFC East. Looming ahead: a showdown with the Packers for conference supremacy

  • While the Patriots chase perfection, the last perfect team watches its legacy turn to ashes

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
PRO BASKETBALL
  • His arrival would create a new set of problems. But if the Bulls don't start winning soon, they may have no choice but to make a deal for Kobe Bryant

College Basketball Preview
COLLEGE BASKETBALL PREVIEW
Departments

1 North Carolina

The Tar Heels' merriest prankster is highly serious about getting them to the Final Four

During lastseason's NCAA tournament, Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said that his startingpoint guard, Tywon Lawson, was the team's Dennis the Menace. The comic-stripcharacter is a renowned tornado of trouble, and Lawson is a 5' 11"whirlwind who averaged 10.2 points and 5.6 assists as a freshman. But the realsimilarity, insists Mr. Wilson--er, Williams--is that Lawson "is like alittle kid who does things just to see your reaction."

This is an article from the Nov. 19, 2007 issue

Indeed, life as aTar Heel offers Lawson the opportunity not only to run an elite basketball teamat breakneck speed--the Heels were the fastest team to make the NCAAs,averaging 73.1 possessions per game--but also to wreak havoc behind the scenes."I don't like people to be bored in the locker room," he says. Saysbackup point guard Bobby Frasor, whose pale arms Lawson likes to slap so he canadmire the resulting handprint, "If you were to just scratch Ty, he'dprobably break something on you." Coaches aren't immune from Lawson'spranks--he has hidden Williams's Sprite during film sessions--and neither arefans. At a team banquet in April, Lawson announced he was leaving for the NBA,then paused before telling a silenced crowd he was kidding.

There was aserious reason for Lawson to return to Chapel Hill. With him at the helm, theHeels are well-positioned to win the national championship. Williams thinksLawson played his best basketball at the end of 2006-07; over his final 16games Lawson had a brilliant 3.5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Coming out ofOak Hill (Va.) Academy in '05, Lawson wanted to play alongside fellow Marylandnative Kevin Durant and even briefly considered withdrawing his commitment toUNC. Instead he happily ended up with this year's preseason Wooden Awardfavorite, 6' 9" forward Tyler Hansbrough, who Lawson says is "thehardest worker I've ever seen--ever."

With forward DeonThompson poised to have a breakout year in place of departed lottery pickBrandan Wright, Williams has already said the Heels can play faster than theydid last season. This year Lawson should lead the sprint to San Antonio."Anything less," he says, "and it'll be a wasted season."

[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

STARTING LINEUP

POS.PLAYERHT.CLASSKEY STATS
PGTy Lawson

[RETURNING STARTER]

5'11"Soph.10.2 ppg5.6 apg
SGWayne Ellington

[RETURNING STARTER]

6'4"Soph.11.7 ppg2.1 apg
SFMarcus Ginyard6'5"Jr.4.1 ppg3.2 rpg
PFTyler Hansbrough

[RETURNING STARTER]

6'9"Jr.18.4 ppg7.9 rpg
FDeon Thompson6'8"Soph.4.7 ppg2.4 rpg
KEY RESERVE
FAlex Stepheson6'9"Soph.2.1 ppg2.2 rpg


NONCONFERENCE SCHEDULE

Nov. 14 Davidson(in Charlotte)

Nov. 18 Iona

Nov. 20 SouthCarolina State

Nov. 23-24 LasVegas Invitational (vs. Old Dominion; plus BYU, Louisville)

Nov. 28 at OhioState

Dec. 1 atKentucky

Dec. 4 atPenn

Dec. 16 atRutgers

Dec. 19 NichollsState

Dec. 22 UC SantaBarbara

Dec. 27Nevada

Dec. 30Valparaiso

Jan. 2 KentState

Jan. 9 UNCAsheville

Analysis

Fingers arecrossed for a possible matchup with Louisville--a good bet to meet the Heels inthe Las Vegas Invitational. A matchup with Kentucky in Lexington a week latergives Carolina a chance to make fans in the Bluegrass State feel truly blue.Five other 2007 NCAA tournament teams lard a slate that's deceptivelytough.

Grade: B+

FAST FACTS

Coach RoyWilliams (5th year)

2006-07 record31-7

ACC record 11-5(T-1st)

NCAA tournamentElite Eight

my SI
SI.com/unchoops

Instant access tothe latest and best Tar Heels stories, stats and fan blogs from across the Web,selected by SI's editors.

PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGHOVERDRIVE With Lawson's foot on the gas, UNC will again be one of the nation's fastest teams.ILLUSTRATION