No. 16: Ty Lawson
*Publisher's note: THI is ranking the top 25 basketball players in UNC history, gauging each player solely on their careers as Tar Heels. NBA accomplishments do not factor into these rankings.
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Name: Ty Lawson
Jersey #: 5
Honors: First-team All-America 2009; ACC Player of the Year 2009; Team MVP of 2009 national champions; All-ACC 2008 & 2009; South Region MOP 2009; Bob Cousy Award 2009; ACC All-Freshman team 2007; UNC jersey is honored at the Smith Center.
Notable Stats: Averaged 13.1 points, 5.8 assists (sixth highest career average at UNC), and 1.8 steals per game over his career; 41st all-time at UNC with 1,375 career points; Third highest three-point percentage for a season at UNC at 47.2 percent in 2009; seventh all-time at UNC with 608 career assists; seventh highest single-season steals total (75) in 2009; ninth all-time leader in steals at UNC with 184; Shot 51.6 percent from the field for his career; Shot 40.2 percent from three-point range for his career; Career 2.78 assist-turnover ratio is third highest in ACC history; 230 assists and just 66 turnovers in 2009, greatest assist-turnover ratio (3.49) in ACC history.
In Closing: In 2009, Lawson became the first point guard named ACC Player of the Year in 31 years. That season he was the first point guard to ever lead UNC in field goal percentage. He set an NCAA championship game record with eight steals in the 2009 title game, seven came in the first half. Lawson’s game grew as he matured into the team’s best player as a junior. One of the fastest guards ever at UNC, Lawson developed a knack for making big plays at key moments.
His 2009 NCAA Tournament run (20.8 points, 34 assists, 16 steals), despite missing the first game and being hobbled in the second because of an injury, is one of the greatest stretches ever by a Tar Heel. The difference between Lawson the day he arrived at UNC and the night of the 2009 national title game was significant on all fronts, and at that point he was one of the greatest point guards in UNC history.