College, NBA Draft / Jun 23, 2009 / 2:24 pm

The Great Tyler Hansbrough debate

Tyler Hansbrough (UNC)

Tyler Hansbrough (UNC)

No player has spent more time in more mock draft positions than Tyler Hansbrough. From his freshman All-American debut at UNC to now, following his national title senior season, Hansbrough has been projected to go in the second round, late-first, mid-first, and late-Lottery. Now may be knocking on the Top-10, as today he’s working out for the New Jersey Nets, who have the 11th pick.

Hansbrough’s NBA potential has always been a polarizing topic. Some think he can be an All-Star, while others think he’ll be out of the League in four years. A couple days before he officially gets started either living up to expectations of failing to meet them, two of our writers look at both sides of the Psycho T debate…

by Austin Burton

Pretend for a second that Tyler Hansbrough wasn’t White. Change the name from “Tyler Hansbrough” to “Tyrone Harris,” then attach this resume: Four-year starter for the most loaded program in the country; four-time All-American; heart and soul of a national championship team as a senior; consensus national Player of the Year as a junior; career averages of 20.2 points and 8.6 boards in the ACC. Are we even having this argument then?

But because people can’t look at Hansbrough — with his 1,000-yard stare and overall Hoosiers aesthetic — without seeing replays of Mark Madsen and Todd Fuller and Eric Montross, it’s just safer to predict that Psycho T will be a bust in the NBA.

Drafting a non-athletic big White kid is the NBA’s version of an office manager hiring a dude with a criminal record: It’s not always a recipe for disaster, and a lot of ex-cons will prove your preconceived notions wrong, but because of history and public perception and the high “I told you so” potential if things don’t work out, no one wants to take that chance.

Never mind that we had this exact same debate with Kevin Love last year, and all he did was finish 9th in the League in rebounding as a rookie and become a walking double-double in Minnesota. Never mind that Hansbrough’s skill set — decent enough jumper, ability to score inside and get to the line, a passion and an acumen for rebounding, never-ending motor and a high basketball IQ — lends itself to success on the pro level.

The NBA Draft is littered with so many superstar college PF’s who didn’t turn into stars in the League, but none of them had to overcome the automatic scrutiny that Hansbrough walks in with. Is Hansbrough any more limited than #13 pick Corliss Williamson was coming out of Arkansas? Is he any less athletic than #19 pick Zach Randolph was coming out of Michigan State? Is he really worse than Paul Millsap, Big Baby Davis or Carl Landry all second-round picks who are either starters or vital contributors for playoff teams?

So what’s the difference? It’s as simple and stupid as Black and White.

*** *** ***

Tyler Hansbrough (UNC)

Tyler Hansbrough (UNC)

by Aron Phillips

I don’t want to take anything away from the absolute dominance that Tyler Hansbrough imposed on the ACC for the past four years. When the dust settles, Psycho T’s career will be looked at as one of the best in all of college basketball. Throw in winning a national championship in his last collegiate game and the guy’s resume is simply remarkable.

But at the next level, Tyler Hansbrough will be just another dude on a roster. At 6-9 and 250 pounds, Hansbrough is either a small forward without handles or an undersized power forward that will be taken advantage of on the block. While the comparison to Mark “Mad Dog” Madsen is too easy to make, I see Tyler more like a Drew Gooden or Reggie Evans at the next level.

Gooden, too, was a big-time college player and a Lottery pick, but these days is simply a serviceable pro. He’ll come off the bench, have big games every now and then, but at the end of the day his biggest asset are his six fouls to give. He’s already been on multiple teams and was even bought out by the Bulls earlier this season before being picked up by the Spurs. If you don’t remember, Evans was an animal in college once he transferred to Iowa, leading the nation in double-doubles. Like him, Hansbrough will enter the game to play hard-nosed defense and grab as many boards as possible in his limited minutes.

Will he have a decent NBA career? Probably. But will it be a career befitting one of the best college basketball players of all-time?

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    Attitude — You Negro should all know. Ya must have forgot. You founding fathers had it. You have it!

  • QQ

    first. This kid is gonna be scary good!

  • QQ

    Bruce – Mind ya damn biz dude. I told you before, you speaking outta line, and I ain’t gonna put up with it. Stay to the point or feel the wrath of QQ. BitchNikka!


    QQ – You are not first, you are 2nd.

  • Detroit Dave

    I believe Psycho T will be a 10 yr pro. He needs to land on a good team where his roles are rebounding, block shots and dunking. If Varajeo can turn setting screens into a contract then Tyler will be alright. I would love to see him next to Duncan or Bosh, he would fit right in with the Celtics too.

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    He will be a hard work rebounder and great for big plays, team moral. Looking at about 12 and 7 for him. He will certainly be a crowd favorite. Still I take Gerald Henderson before I take this guy and Gerald’s resume prolly ain’t even close college comparison wise. Still potential and impact wise I go with Gerald.

    Tyler might turn out to be a Scola at best or a Hayes at absolute down right worst (hope not).

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    Oh that top picture of T is hilarious too! Like a fruity swag of him doing that “Carlton” dance on Fresh Prince or something.

    I can’t even think of what he was saying to himself or thinking but it’s hilarious just to see.

  • Scott

    I’m surprised no one has put up comparisons to Laettner. He’s really the last guy who came into the NBA with a NCAA resume and ‘stereotype’ that compares.

  • @

    “He’s already been on multiple teams and was even bought out by the Bulls earlier this season before being picked up by the Spurs.”
    Gooden was traded by the Bulls and bought out by the Kings.

    Hansborough will be average. He has too much intensity and heart to be a complete bust, but he is too awkward, clumsy and undersized to be a difference-maker. He will get hustle rebounds, but when it comes to fighting for them, he will get bullied in the post.

  • ADAP

    Na to nitpick, but DG was traded by Da Bulls to the kings & then bought out by Kings before winding up on the Spurs. . . as for Psycho T . . . its on him . . . only time will tell . . . blah blah blah.

  • sxm

    Isn’t Tyler quite athletic for any big – what was he pre draft results?

  • 92021SpurMD

    @ Poppi – That was after he hit the game winning shot against VA Tech in the 2008 ACC Tourney. Running down the court kicking and swinging, classic UNC moment!

  • Sacto_J

    Hey, in calling out tall white duds, you forgot one of the most obvious – Christian Laettner. And for the record, Gooden was bought out by Sacramento (because he wouldn’t show up to work.) Anyway, I’ve been seeing T-pain’s draft stock rise, and I’m not surprised, he’s going to make a decent player…

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    @92021SpurMD I missed that game as I am not really a UNC fan or VT but good look on telling me where it came from. Well who ever captured the photo right at that moment had to laugh. That is to funny.

    Golly Gee Willikers I’m FRESH!

  • hahns

    this is the problem with the draft- teams always try to knock it out of the park.

    you know (to a certain extent) what youre gona get w/ psycho T. his biggest contribution is his 110% effort he gives every second hes on the floor- but ppl overlook this and want an all star. lets be honest, how many all star caliber players are even in the draft? not that many i would think- but teams are still enamored and still think they can pick those precious few all stars.

    get a piece your team needs and will be a contributor. he doesnt have to be tim duncan, AI, bron, or ewing. if he fits in your system and gets you a step closer to a chip, then go for it.

  • karizmatic

    I don’t think 6’9 250 is undersized at power forward, but I am in the camp that say Hansborough won’t be that great. Athletic ability counts for a lot. Kevin Love has far more athletic ability than Hansborough and I would argue he has a better jumper too. Hansborough is not pro material. He might do ok as a role player deep on the bench in the right system like maybe San Antonio but that’s it.

  • Chaos

    hey, the difference between them and hansbrough is that psycho T actually actually works at his game while the others didnt really try. he will probably work as hard as anyone in the offseason

  • Ekstor

    Anyone who watched Kevin Love at UCLA knows just how fundamentally sound and how skilled he was… plus he was strong as an ox in the post area… especially against bigger players (see his games against the Lopez twins). But it was his skill-level that was most evident.

    Psycho-T is a different kind of player… we think more of his hustle and attitude than his fundamentals. The comparison to Mark Madsen, while perhaps unfair, is a good one… though I think Psycho-T has more size and athleticism going for him.

    Laettner is a completely different case coming out. He was always projected as a top 3 pick and he was really offensively gifted, especially with his shooting, which is always valued for a big man.

  • MDZ

    Hansbrough will be a solid journeyman. He can score, and he’ll hustle like mad. He’s wierd though because unlike most hustle players he isn’t a particularly good rebounder or defender. He didn’t rebound in college, and most likely won’t in the pros (check out Hollinger’s take on this). He’ll also have to adjust his game from the ACC where he got the benefit of the doubt on almost every call, to the NBA where rookie bigs all take their lumps from the refs. Hansbrough’s rotation spot will be a Litmus test for his eventual team, if he’s on the bench he’ll contribute to a quality playoff team, however if he’s a starter the team will be lottery bound.

  • marcus the great

    good job Austin, you can always win with the race card. (no sarcasm)

  • Big Island


    I was at that game, courtside, and you misquoted him. He said “Golly gee willikers, I am SUPER fresh”.

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    @ Big Island

    My bad lol I knew it was something like that lol. Dang courtside for that…you picked a good game to be courtside at.

  • rocco

    i PRAY the bulls take him if he is still there

    i dont want anything to do with DaJaun Fizer-Blair

  • x0t

    tyrone harris lol

    good stuff, like the comparisons. He could be like maxiell with a jumper

  • x0t

    he cant see landry tho

  • @

    @ Sacto_J
    Gooden did show up, and even played one game. He was just bought out to save money, and give him a chance to sign with a playoff team.

  • haslem

    Tyler will prove the haters wrong again.

  • IGP

    well written AB, good work

  • crossphaded

    Sorry, but he’s the next Chris Laettner, the next Danny Ferry, and the next Adam Morrison. Dominant white players who flourished in the collage game, but are just too slow, not athletic enough, and don’t have the superstar mindset to become extraordinary players in the NBA. Nuff said.
    Let him prove me and the other non-believes wrong.

  • Sacto_J

    Oh, that’s right. He did show up for one game after pouting for like 2 weeks. Good job on checking me on my facts. Glad you were there to point that out. Don’t forget to mention that he was “allegedly” dealing with a groin strain that didn’t seem to hamper him much during his brief playoff stint in SA. And since we’re talking about Drew Gooden, who the hell cares. The point was that he was bought out by Sacto, not Chi-town. What did Gooden do to deserve being bought out to play for a “contender”? All he’s good for is adding to your injury report….

  • K Dizzle

    Christian laettner is a horrible comparison. laettner was a jumpshootin big man. Hansbrough is more in the Paul Millsap mode; dirty work doin, reboundin, bangin inside. And if he has a career like Laettner, then he ain’t a bust. 13 years, 1st team all rookie, made an all-star team and had career averages of 13 pts, 7 boards, 3 ast. Missed out on a chip cuz he retired a season before Wade carried them to the promised land.

    On a funny sidenote, if you wikipedia the Miami Heat, they got Amare Stoudemire on the roster. They know some shit we don’t?


  • ponky_alolor

    damn K-Dizzle, i checked the wikipedia site and it’s true. wonder if Heat really pulled something off.

  • Sweet English

    wtf is up with that first picture of T?

    Looks like a retard trying to fuck a doorknob.

  • Sly

    Hansbrough will be a solid player.

    He is a good post player.

    He has good on his jumper and is money from 15-17 Feet.

    He is a good rebounder. Can get a team some extra possessions by getting hustle rebounds on top of the norm.

    He is strong enough to keep guys from getting easy baskets in the post.

    Doesnt do anything really really great but does several things well. That makes for a solid player IMO.

  • tbone

    hansbrough will be a very good nba player. his work ethic and his understanding of the game will make him a legit 15-20 8-10 player. he will make his team around him better and give the fans something that is sorely lacking in the nba. high moral character and hard work and back to the basics of old time basketball.