University of North Carolina fans should be lauding one of Chapel Hill's finest today for his role in the Tar Heel's NCAA championship. If not for a certain police officer, Ty Lawson may not have been at UNC to direct the newly crowned champs to the NCAA title.
Last June, Lawson impressed onlookers at Conseco Fieldhouse when he was in Indy for a pre-draft workout with the Indiana Pacers. So much so, there was speculation that Lawson may be the point guard Larry Bird wanted to anchor the team's attack at both ends of the floor in the future.
Then a couple of days later, back on campus in Chapel Hill, Lawson was pulled over after drinking. Initial repots claimed a DUI, but since Lawson wasn't over the legal limit the charges were far less serious.
Still, there was no way the Pacers could draft Lawson since they were in the midst of scrubbing the team's image and among the priorities was avoiding stories tied to the Pacers containing "DUI" in the headline. Considering the incident happened right after Lawson worked out for the Pacers, the PR damage was done.
According to reports, Larry Bird made a call to Roy Williams to let him know that the Pacers couldn't take a chance on Lawson. This quickly led to Lawson pulling out of the draft to keep working on his game and rehab his image.
After watching Lawson throughout the NCAA tournament, I'd say he succeeded on both counts as the engine who drove UNC to their fifth NCAA hoops title. As Tar Heel fans everywhere celebrate today, they should remember the man in dark blue with a badge who made it all possible for the Carolina blue.