USC’s leading scorer from last season, guard AJ Lawson, announced on Twitter Wednesday afternoon he has withdrawn his name from the NBA Draft and will return to school for his junior season. It’s the second straight off-season Lawson has toyed with the idea of turning pro only to return to school. Lawson is now back on the USC campus after spending two weeks in quarantine with his family in Summerton, That was required of him since he was coming in from his home in Toronto.
Here is what Lawson wrote in his announcement:
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! 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!
Last season Lawson matched his scoring output of his freshman season at 13.4 points per game. His overall shooting percentage improved slightly from .411 to .414, but his three point shooting dropped off from .358 to .339. He did improve his foul shooting from 67% to 72%. His scoring did drop off to 12 points per game in SEC play, two points less than his freshman season.
Lawson had six games of 20 points or more last season. His season high was 28 points in a win over Cleveland State.
Statement from Gamecock coach Frank Martin:
I’m so excited to get the opportunity to coach AJ Lawson for another year, 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.
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, when he averaged 1.2 assists per game for the Bears.