When the Great Britain men's basketball team takes the court next summer in London for the 2012 Summer Olympics, the starting point guard could be College of Charleston junior Andrew Lawrence.
Lawrence, a junior from London, made the final cut this week for Great Britain's 12-man national team. He is expected to return to Charleston and begin classes within the next two weeks.
College of Charleston assistant coach Mark Byington said Great Britain's national basketball program is expecting Lawrence to be a factor for the next decade.
"All the talks we are having with the general manager and the coach, they love him," Byington said. "He came in as the fourth point guard on the roster, and he's started the last four or five games. He beat out a lot of guys."
Making the national team was Lawrence's primary goal when he left school and returned to his home in London last spring. He played on the Under-23 team and then was invited to try out for the national team.
"It's a dream for anybody to play for their country, especially having the Olympics back in England, in London, my hometown," Lawrence said.
When Great Britain faced France this summer, Lawrence held his own against San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker and competed against the Chicago Bulls' Joakim Noah. He still has games remaining against Turkey, Spain, Portugal and Poland.
"The experience he gets from international basketball is unbelievable," Byington said. "It's almost like he has a season of basketball every summer. He's been doing two-a-days since the middle of June and probably will have played 15 to 20 games this summer."
Anticipating he might be playing basketball in Europe into September, Lawrence and his coaches made arrangements for him to take classes.
Byington said Lawrence is taking independent study courses and will enroll in several express classes, which begin in mid-October. Meanwhile, Lawrence's College of Charleston teammates are involved in preseason workouts with practice scheduled to officially begin Oct. 14.
"When he gets back, we'll probably have to rest him a little bit," Byington said. "He's going to be pretty worn down."
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