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CAROLINA BASKETBALL: Lawson to withdraw name from NBA Draft
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CAROLINA BASKETBALL: Lawson to withdraw name from NBA Draft

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A.J. Lawson

South Carolina guard A.J. Lawson (00) sails over Vanderbilt guard Jordan Wright (4) and guard Scotty Pippen Jr. (2) during first-half action in Columbia on Jan. 25, 2020.

COLUMBIA -- University of South Carolina guard A.J. Lawson announced on Wednesday that he will withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to Carolina, where he enters his junior season.

Lawson averaged a team-high 13.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game last season.

"I'm happy to announce that I am withdrawing my name from the NBA Draft and returning to school for my junior season as a Gamecock," Lawson said. "I want to thank all of the teams that gave me the opportunity to speak with them over the last couple of months, and I'm excited to be back in Columbia and ready to get to work for the season ahead."

"I'm so excited to get the opportunity to coach A.J. Lawson for another year," Carolina head coach Frank Martin said. "His growth over the last two years has been tremendous and who he is as a teammate along with his talent will continue to help our team achieve great things."

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Lawson had 23 double-figure scoring games as a sophomore, including six 20-point outings. He had 10 games with three or more assists and led or shared the team lead in scoring 10 times, in assists seven times and in steals six times. Entering his junior season, Lawson has a career average of 13.4 points per game, and is just 196 points away from reaching 1,000 for his career.

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Additionally, Martin announced on Wednesday that Ford Cooper, Jr. will join the Carolina roster. Cooper, a native of Charlotte, N.C., is a transfer from Missouri State, where he saw action in 27 games as a freshman in 2019-20. He averaged 1.2 assists per game.

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"We also would like to announce the addition of Ford Cooper to our team," Martin said. "After playing last year at Missouri State, he turned down numerous scholarship offers to pay his own way and be a part of our program. We're excited to have Ford join our team."

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