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College / Jan 14, 2008 / 3:16 pm

Is Tyler Hansbrough an NBA Player?

The clip of Tyler Hansbrough cramming on giant 7-8 Kenny George last week sparked a debate on the Dime site about Hansbrough’s prospects of playing in the League. Some were quick to make a preposterous comparison between T and Mark Madsen, a 10.9-point, 7.9-rebound per night guy during his four-year tenure at Stanford. This parallel is exactly the type that ESPN’s Bill Simmons points to in his most recent NBA column: he makes analogies between Chris Kaman and Moses Malone, and later between Al Jefferson and Kevin McHale to break “the media’s ‘don’t compare white guys with black guys’ rule twice in the same section.”

Truthfully, Hansbrough is more Carlos Boozer than Shavlik Randolph during their respective playing days at Duke. Boozer left for the NBA after his junior season, in which he tallied 18.7 points and 8.7 boards per game – a shade under Hansbrough’s 21.2 and 9.9. In fact, the ’01-02 Dukies’ squad featured a trio similar to this year’s Tar Heels. Jason Williams, Mike Dunleavy and Boozer earned All-American honors after leading the Blue Devils to a No-1 seed in the Dance. While Ty Lawson qualifies only as a homeless man’s Jay Williams, UNC actually fits the same mold with a speedy point guard, a deadly shooter (Wayne Ellington) and an ox at power forward.

Boozer used his 6-8, 258 lbs. frame under the boards in college to do the majority of his damage. His 12 to 15-footer became a more reliable tool during his ’06-07 season with the Jazz when he boosted from 6.6 field goals per game to 8.7. Likewise, Hansbrough is largely a below-the-rim forward who outmuscles opponents with his 6-9 250 lbs. frame. In both cases, their physical strength is at the core of an outstanding ability to finish around the basket.

Since leaving Durham, Booze expanded his game and his body to a stout 6-9, 266 lbs. It’s tough to imagine Psycho T remaining static at 250 lbs. This is the guy who trained during the off-season by pushing the Tar Heels’ strength and conditioning coach’s SUV around a parking lot for a leg workout. His workout regiment was the reason for the nickname.

If the major knock on Hansbrough is his athleticism, the two-hander over George should help to dispel doubters. Sure, questions remain about how he’ll fare down the line. Add this query to the list: could Boozer have dunked on George when he played in the ACC?

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  • Myrie

    Race(ism) in Sport(s).

    Comparisons are pretty useless in the reality of sports/leagues/players/games.

    But I often wonder why black players and white players are never compared. Who’s to day the next Larry Bird will be white? Or the next Dr. J will be black?

    Just something to be considered….

    As for Tyler; who knows what path his pro career will take. Eric Montross (ha!…white comparison?!?) was a collegiate stud at NC too.

    I don’t see Hansborough as anything more than Jokim Noah.

  • http://www.bouncemag.com Andy Buckets

    Andrew,
    Are you serious?!? Hansbrough didn’t show any athleticism dunking on ole boy from UNC-Asheville! George didn’t jump and Tyler walked on the play. The kid is a GREAT college player but he will be playing PF in the NBA, a position that has evolved. Dirk, KG, Bosh, Boozer, Wallace would all serve him his lunch. Even a guy like Zach Randolph would give him the drugs.

    Boozer at Duke would have dismantled Hansbrough. It is insulting to compare this UNC team to that Duke squad. Williams, Duhon, Dunleavy, and Boozer would’ve made quick work of Ellington, Lawson, Hansbrough, and Green.

    He is good, and he is an NBA player…don’t get me wrong. But he isn’t anything more than a backup at best. He is closer to Mark Madsen than David Lee.

  • http://dimemag.com Andrew

    Mr. Buckets,

    The question at hand is whether Hansbrough is an NBA player, not whether he’s an NBA All-Star. All that I’m suggesting is that Hansbrough’s college days are more like Carlos Boozer’s college days than Shavlik Randolph/Mark Madsen/Insert Stiff White Forward Here’s college days.

    Also Andy, you’re right that KG, Bosh, Wallace would give him trouble – but who don’t they give trouble to. Frankly, they give each other trouble. I don’t think that giving up points to the top players in the League is a big deal. But let’s look at the facts for a second. Guarding NC State’s J.J. Hickson, a 6-10 power forward predicted to go in the lottery, Hansbrough limited the talented freshman to 14 points on 5-16 shooting – that’s less than 32%. Hickson is shooting just over 65% on the year from the field. Pretty good if I say so.

    And Andy one more thing. Each one of the player’s you suggested as elite power forwards developed into the players that they are today during their first years in the NBA. Carlos Boozer wasn’t a fantastic player by any stretch of the imagination when in Cleveland – he was evolving.

    I think that there’s a general misconception that player development is totally dependent on athleticism. Experts said that Darius Miles had a ton of potential because he was unskilled by athletic. The same goes for so many NBA players. What about skilled players who will continue to mature physically? Hansbrough has more potential to build his body and skill set than you’re giving him credit for.

    Let me remind you of one last thing, once said by famous Charlestown Head Coach Jack O’Brien: “Hard work beats out talent 100% of the time.”

  • Juanito

    Hansbrough reminds me of a Tractor Traylor type or maybe a Kevin Pitsnogle. JK on the last one lol.

  • s.bucketz

    all these teams are gunna pick these freshman based on potential but they dont hand out these ncaa awards for no reason..people always sleep on the most proven players…in recent history i can think of josh howard, jameer nelson, alando tucker,aaron afflalo jus to name a few..players that had been workin hard for years and proven stars for ther teams that had deep runs…hans is gunna drop to like the 20s and every team that picked up some scrub ass 7 footer b4 him is gunna b kickin ther own asses

  • doc

    With the 1rst pick of the D league draft the Utah Flash select

  • Bron42 aka global-4A-reason

    hansboorough is gonna be a ronny turiaf type…give you a few minutes, some hustle points and thats about it. he doesn’t have a legit post game, isn’t really that athletic. hes 6’10 and its not like he jumped over kenny. He pretty much just dunked the ball in the open spot between kennys non-jumping out stretched arms. Thats pretty much a basic 2 handed dunk. Personally I don’t see him doin much in the nba but i see him as one of those guys who somehow stick around ala pat burke edurdo najara. or he could be a total scrub ala josh mcroberts and stromile swift.

  • MoxWestCoastRep

    You know who else were a great college players? Nick Fazekas and Aaron Gray. Now staring in the D-League or getting no tick in the league. Sorry but Psycho T is does not have the length (like a bosh), height(like a KG),skill set(like a Dirk)or quickness(like a marion)to be an elite PF. I think he will be nothing more than a role player.

  • Willis

    Tyler Hansbrough looks like a fish

  • dagwaller

    I don’t think that T will be anything great, but with the way Maxiell, Big Baby, Chuck Hayes, David Lee, and so on are playing, it’s not inconceivable that T could be a starter fairly quickly in this League as a power forward. Especially considering his team’s focus (the fast break) is something that the League is putting more and more emphasis on. Probably a better athlete than the rest of the guys I’ve already mentioned. I don’t think he’ll be a Charles Barkley by any means, though.

  • bron42 aka Global-4A-Reason

    Not as athletic as maxiell or lee, isn’t as offensive as big baby has proven he can be. so at most he’d be a hustle guy like chuck hayes. T is tall, hes not really an above average athlete. hes a hustle player who gets alot of garbag buckets in college on a loaded team, let alone pro. don’t get me wrong, hes a cool kid and actually down to earth if you ever talk to him but i dont see him ever being a starter but i do see him getting the fans to chant “we-want-tyler” at the end of games.

  • Diction

    You guys are killin me. I can’t believe nobody’s made a Nick Collison comparison yet. same weight and height and about the same athleticism. Only difference is Collison has a slightly better 10-18 foot jumper. But they’re rebounding and ability to finish after absorbing the hit is right on. and quit hatin on that dunk, so what if he walked. Dude said nobody’s dunked on him this decade.

  • Ferdiberdi

    he can give 10-10 given garbage time. He’s a hustlin/banging kind of power forward. There’s always room in the league for this (Hayes/Noah/Oberto). Needs to fix that jumper though.

  • http://myspace Stewart

    i see hansbrough adv. 15 and 8 as a pro… he will suit up for 1 or 2 all star games thats it… He is one of the best college players to play at carolina… b4 its over with he will own the point mark and rebounding mark at carolina