UNC guard Drew II to leave school

BY foxsports • February 4, 2011

First North Carolina point guard Larry Drew II lost his starting job. Now he’s leaving the team.

UNC coach Roy Williams said Friday in a news release from the university that he spoke to Drew's father, Atlanta Hawks coach and former NBA player Larry Drew, who informed him “it was in Larry II's best interest to leave North Carolina at this time.”

Drew was supplanted in the Tar Heels’ starting lineup by freshman Kendall Marshall four games ago.

“Personally I hate this for Larry and our team because he was such an important part of our team and he has continued to improve and played well in recent games,” Williams said in the release. “He was our defensive award winner in two of our last four games and has handled the ball really well in our four-game win streak.

“But I understand that families and players have to make their own decisions as to what is best for them at a particular time in their lives. He contributed a great deal to our program in his two and a half years here, including being a part of a national championship team.  . . . He will be successful wherever he chooses to go. I appreciate what he gave to our University and basketball program in his time here.”

Drew actually has played well since coming off the bench behind Marshall, but he never seemed quite happy in Chapel Hill and took plenty of criticism in his nearly two seasons at North Carolina.

Said Drew in the UNC news release, “After careful consideration and consultation with my family, I have decided it’s in my best interest to continue my education and basketball career elsewhere. I have enjoyed my time in North Carolina and appreciate the support of everyone associated with the program. Over the last three years we’ve accomplished a lot as a team and those experiences will help me not only on the court, but off the court as well.

“I’d like to thank the coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to play at one of the nation’s top colleges in UNC, and my teammates for their support as well. It is unfortunate my career didn’t meet expectations in Chapel Hill, however I do look forward to continuing my collegiate and athletic career in the near future.”

Considered a top-50 recruit coming out of high school in California, Drew was averaging 4.4 points and 3.9 assists this season.

North Carolina improved to 16-5 with its rout over Boston College earlier in the week, and the Tar Heels are 6-1 in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

Now Marshall, a heady, pass-first floor leader who was clearly in favor among his teammates, will get the brunt of the minutes running the team. Dexter Strickland, a combo guard who spent time at the point a year ago, likely will move to the point when Marshall is out of the lineup.

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