It’s official: Freshman forward Ed Davis said Sunday he’ll return for his sophomore campaign.

“I am returning to North Carolina for my sophomore season and will not apply for the NBA draft,” Davis said in a statement. “I love being a student at Carolina and playing with my teammates for coach [Roy] Williams. I’d like to play in the NBA someday, but my family and I don’t think I’m ready to take that step.”

Speculation was abound that Davis was not entirely ruling the draft out, despite his early declaration to return right after UNC beat Michigan State on April 6.

With four time all-American Tyler Hansbrough graduating, Davis should be the centerpiece of UNC’s interior next season and has a chance to really blossom into a defensive menace after leading the Tar Heels with 65 blocks off the bench.

Junior guards Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington are expected to declare for the draft after both averaged close to 20 points in the NCAA tournament and shot over 50 percent from the field. Lawson and Ellington both entered the draft after their sophomore years without hiring an agent.

And eight miles down the road silence on the part of Gerald Henderson is hinting that he is strongly considering the NBA draft. The junior guard averaged 16.5 points per game but faded down the stretch, shooting 11-for-44 from the field in the NCAA tournament, a staggering 25 percent.

Sophomore Kyle Singler said he would return after Duke lost to Villanova in the Sweet 16.