University of South Carolina guard AJ Lawson announced on Wednesday that he will withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to Carolina, where he enters his junior season in the Garnet and Black. Lawson averaged a team-high 13.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game last season.
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Frank Martin stands with A.J. Lawson in staying in the NBA Draft at this point in time. “There’s no need to rush. He’s had probably six or seven interviews with NBA teams, which is what they’re all doing right now,” Martin said. “As long as NBA teams are offering interviews, I don’t see any reason why he should try to make a decision sooner than he has to. If no NBA team was asking to meet with him, I would think he’d make a decision by now.”
Jon Rothstein: Sources: South Carolina’s AJ Lawson is returning to school next season and will withdraw from the 2020 NBA Draft.
South Carolina’s A.J. Lawson is still in the NBA Draft, despite reports to the contrary. “He’s still in the draft,” Lawson’s father, Anthony, told ZAGSBLOG on Tuesday.
South Carolina men’s basketball coach Frank Martin said he expected top scorer A.J. Lawson back on campus at the end of June. And a report from CBS Sports college basketball insider Jon Rothstein made it appear the talented rising junior was fully headed back to USC and out of the NBA Draft. But on Tuesday morning, Lawson’s father told The State the report was “not accurate” and the family never spoke to anyone about his decision.
Jeff Goodman: South Carolina’s AJ Lawson will declare for the NBA Draft without hiring an agent, source told @Stadium.
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September 27, 2021 | 9:36 am EDT Update
Towns received treatment at an area hospital, then quarantined at home for the next few weeks, isolated from friends and family. Basketball had been the closest thing in his life to an outlet. Now, by himself, he had no choice but to confront the pain that followed his mother’s sudden death. “I’ve had a lot of situations this year where things were just too much for me,” Towns says. “I just remember [quarantining] in the house, and it was more than just COVID for me. I felt like I was going through a holistic journey.”
A high-calorie diet eventually solved his weight problem. But that night inside Quicken Loans Arena, in the same building with so many people for the first time since he was able to leave his house, anxiety enveloped Towns on the bench. When the first quarter ended he texted his agent: “I can’t be out here anymore. I can’t do this.” He rushed back to the locker room, where Minnesota’s head equipment manager Peter Warden asked if everything was O.K.
“I felt like everything was an open-ended sentence, you know? There was no closure. There was no period at the end,” he says. “I just kept running on and running on and running on, but I never really got to where I needed to go to end a conversation.”
There were days when being around teammates carried him. Basketball felt like it could provide a blip of relief. There were others when he thought about stepping away and giving himself space to mourn. “[My mother] made basketball fun for me my whole entire life,” Towns says. “She made it where I wanted to even do this. So for me, I was like, [There’s] too much on my mind. I’m not, I can’t, nah, I can’t.”
“That money s— don’t mean s— to me,” he says. “Time is the real thing we losing every day. I just really didn’t think I could play the game of basketball the way I want to represent myself in the NBA. I didn’t want to represent myself in a bad way. There’d be a lot of times we’d play a game. Game’s over. And I’m not even in there. I’m doing my own thing. I’m in the bathroom looking at myself, wondering if this is the man that I really think I am. I had 40. I’m still not happy with the man I see in the mirror. I’m still dealing with a lot of s—.”