Ty Lawson's decision to forgo the NBA Draft and go back to UNC has been a good one thus far. The Clinton, MD native averaged 16 points, 6.5 assists, and 2 steals per game this season. Lawson has also shown off his shooting touch by averaging 50/40/80 (53.8 from the field, 47.3 from three-point range, and 81.7 from the free throw line). His stellar play and leadership on the court helped him be named the ACC Player of the Year; the first point guard to win the award since 1978. Lawson was also named to the First Team All-ACC. He leads the ACC in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio (3.4:1), tied for first in steals, 4th in field goal percentage, and 12th in scoring. His assists per game is good for 8th in D-I and his 3.4:1 assist-to-turnover ratio is the best in ACC single season history. In fact, his career assists-to-turnover ratio of 2.74:1 is second-best in ACC history. Lawson has proven that he wants the ball in his hands not only by not turning it over, but also taking it away from the opponents. He has had more steals (61) than turnovers (59) this season. Lawson has been a clutch scorer over his last nine games as well. Seventy-eight percent of his scoring in those games has come in the second half, including 21 at Duke, 17 at Miami, 16 at Virginia Tech, and 21 against LSU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
It was a season of growth for Lawson, who was able to increase his averages from last year in minutes, scoring, assists, assist-to-turnover, steals, field goal percentage, and 3-point field goal percentage. He led the Tar Heels to a school-record third consecutive 30-win season and a final #2 ranking in the Associated Press poll. The season also saw UNC come away with the ACC regular season title. Lawson has been named to the first-team All-America by Sports Illustrated and CBS Sportsline, second-team All America by the Associated Press, Sporting News, and Rupp. He has been named NABC District Player of the Year and a finalist for the Oscar Robertson Trophy for Player of the Year. His defensive prowess did not go unnoticed as he earned a spot on the ACC Honorable Mention All-Defensive Team. The speed and aggressiveness of Lawson helped UNC have one of the most potent offenses in the nation. UNC's offensive attack ranked first in scoring margin, second in points per game and assists, sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio, and 15th in field goal percentage. Lawson helped lead the Tar Heels throughout the year and kept them at the top of the national rankings and securing a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Lawson is the second Tar Heel in four years to win the Bob Cousy Award joining the 2005 winner Raymond Felton.
"The Bob Cousy Award presented by The Hartford has established itself as one of college basketball's premier awards" said John L. Doleva, Hall of Fame President & CEO. "Mr. Cousy has set a standard for the point guard position which is represented with this award. Leadership, vision and integrity are just a few of the traits that each of these finalists has demonstrated both on and off the court."
Cousy, also known as "Mr. Basketball," is considered the prototype of point guards and was a freshman on the Holy Cross team that won the NCAA Championship in 1947. He was a pioneer in the NBA, famous for bringing a `flashy' style of passing and showmanship to the game. Named one of the Top 50 Players in NBA History, Cousy led the Boston Celtics to championships in 1957 and 1959 through 1963. Cousy led the NBA in assists for eight consecutive years (1953-1960) and played in 13 straight All-Star games. After his retirement from professional basketball he was a successful coach at Boston College from 1963 to 1969, with an overall record of 117 wins and 38 losses.
"If basketball is an art form," noted Cousy, "it primarily resides in the artistry, creativity, imagination and development of the nuances of the position by a genuine point guard such as John Stockton or Jason Kidd." Cousy was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1971.
The 2009 Bob Cousy Award presented by The Hartford will be presented at the Basketball Hall of Fame's Class Announcement on Monday April 6th in the Ambassador Ballroom of the Marriott in Detroit, Michigan.
BOB COUSY AWARD - PAST WINNERS
2004- Jameer Nelson, St. Joseph's
2005- Raymond Felton, North Carolina
2006- Dee Brown, Illinois
2007- Acie Law, Texas A&M
2008- D.J. Augustin, Texas