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College of Charleston sends star guard to the Olympics; Lawrence to play for Britain

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer
Andrew Lawrence, left, during a FIBA exhibition basketball game at Hofheinz Pavilion on June 23. (AP/Smiley N. Pool, Houston Chronicle)

There is one huge, unforeseen potential benefit to recruiting overseas.

You never know when you'll land an Olympic athlete.

College of Charleston became the most recent program to boast an Olympian, as the school announced Thursday that senior guard Andrew Lawrence would head back home and play for Great Britain in the XXX Olympiad. The announcement was made in conjunction with the British Olympic Association releasing the 12-man hoops squad.

Great Britain stands virtually no chance at medaling, but that's beside the point. The country is playing in just its second Olympics on the men's basketball side. Big news over there for the niche sect dedicated to hoops.

"I feel very honored and privileged to be able to represent Team GB and CofC in the upcoming Games," Lawrence said in a school statement. "This is a dream come true to play in the Olympics and for Great Britain."

Lawrence is 22 years old, but he'll be the youngest of the English crop. Notably, Luol Deng will also be on the team -- I had completely forgotten he was a British citizen -- with a slew of others who played at U.S. schools, ranging from Duquesne to Arizona Stateto Illinois to Wofford and more.

Lawrence, who was the captain of the U-23 Great Britain national team in 2010, was a Second Team selection for the SoCon last season, averaging 13 points, 5.5 assists per game and 1.9 steals.

"To make the Olympic team for any country is a huge honor, accomplishment and privilege," Charleston coach Doug Wojcik said. "To play for your home country and in front of your own nation is even more special. Andrew has worked incredibly hard to accomplish this feat and deserves every accolade he receives."

The school notes Lawrence is actually not the only student participating in London this year. A senior sailor, Juan Maegli, will represent Guatamala for the second time.

Lawrence's play, however much he gets, could be huge for him. He's not seen as an NBA prospect, but performing well in this capacity could set him up for a nice contract and transition to international play once his senior year is over in 2013.

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