Why Tyler Hansbrough Has a Future In The NBA

Zach EvansContributor IApril 15, 2009

CHAPEL HILL, NC - MARCH 08:  Tyler Hansbrough #50 of the North Carolina Tar Heels walks back into the game against the Duke Blue Devils at the Dean E. Smith Center on March 8, 2009 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Okay, go ahead and say it.  Say everything everybody else has already told you about Tyler Hansbrough and why he won't excel in the NBA. 

He's too small.  He doesn't play above the rim.  He's unathletic.  He travels every time he touches the ball. 

Feel better?  Good, because I'm about to tell you why he will excel in the NBA.  Now, sit back with your Haterade and let me share with you what they're not saying about Tyler Hansbrough.


He Wasn't Supposed To Be A Superstar In College, Either 

In Rivals.com's rankings of the 2005 recruiting class, Hansbrough was fourth...amongst power forwards.  The three players ahead of Hansbrough, you ask?  Josh McRoberts, Andray Blatche, and Richard Hendrix.  

Even the locals weren't blown away by Hansbrough's potential as a college player.  One sports radio personality stated that the Tar Heels would be "lucky" if Hansbrough had a college career half as impressive as Sean May's. 

With all due respect to May, who is currently averaging four points and 12 minutes a game for the Charlotte Bobcats, the only people that will be wearing No. 50 on argyle jerseys into the Dean Smith Center will be spectators still displaying their loyalty to the 2008 National Player of the Year.


He's A Hansbrough

Class, if you're brought your textbook...I mean, your 2008-09 program from a UNC basketball game, please turn to Tyler Hansbrough's profile on page 36.  See where it says, "I chose my jersey number because?"  See where it says he chose that aforementioned No. 50 because of his brother?

Greg Hansbrough played basketball and ran cross country at Poplar Bluff High School, just like many of you reading this may have played basketball or ran cross country at whatever high school you attended.  How many of us, however, did so after being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor at age seven, limiting the motion of the left side of your body ever since?

Most of us haven't run marathons, either.  The elder Hansbrough has three to his credit, along with six half-marathons.  So don't waste your time telling Tyler he can't make it in the NBA.  He'll just remind you his brother wasn't supposed to walk again, either.


He Hasn't Stopped Improving

Hansbrough was a respectable free throw shooter his freshman year, converting on 74 percent of his shots from the free throw line.  "Respectable" wasn't going to cut it, though.  By Hansbrough's senior season, he was scoring on 84 percent of his charity stripe attempts, en route to becoming the NCAA's leading career free throw shooter.

The most three point attempts Hansbrough launched in a season before his senior year was seven.  Although Carolina and Duke fans alike remember a certain three point shot his freshman year, Hansbrough wasn't one to "spread the floor."  That weapon, however, was added to the arsenal this season, as Hansbrough made 39 percent of his 27 trifecta attempts.

Oh, and at the next level, he won't have to worry about things like "class" getting in the way of improving his game, since he'll be getting paid to, you know, improve his game.  The NBA is obsessed with teenagers with plenty of upside, but it's safe to say this 23-year-old hasn't peaked either.


So say what you want about Tyler Hansbrough.  I'm not going to sit here and tell you that he will be a 10 time All-Star selection or a first ballot Hall of Famer.  Then again, nobody would have proclaimed him a future National Player of the Year entering college, either. 

However, Hansbrough isn't going to settle for an average career in the NBA, just like he didn't settle for an average career and his brother didn't settle for an average life.  It's just not in their nature.