NCAA Basketball

Leading hoops scorer AJ Lawson returning to South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) South Carolina's top scorer and rebounder AJ Lawson is returning to school for his junior basketball season.

Lawson announced on social media Wednesday that he is withdrawing from the NBA draft. The 6-foot-6 guard from Toronto started all 31 games last year, averaging team highs with 13.4 points and 3.7 rebounds.

Lawson thanked the pro teams he met with the past few months and said he was excited to play another season at South Carolina.

Lawson put his name in the draft pool in April, but did not hire an agent giving him the option to return.

The coronavirus pandemic, that ended South Carolina's season before the Southeastern Conference Tournament, pushed back the NBA draft along with the deadline for college players to decide whether to go back to school.

Lawson started all 31 games last season. He also averaged 13.4 points during his freshman year, starting 29 games for South Carolina.

Gamecocks coach Frank Martin also said Wednesday that ex-Missouri State freshman Ford Cooper Jr. has transferred to South Carolina.

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Updated July 29, 2020

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