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Tyler Hansbrough

I think Tyler Hansbrough had one of the more interesting careers the way he had one of the greatest college basketball careers but didn’t make much impact in the NBA. In many ways, it’s reminiscent of cross-time rival Christian Laettner only not as good. For all the grief Laettner gets for his NBA career many people forget he did make an All-Star team and play until he was 35 years old. Hansbrough had an NBA career but no other accolades.

I remember draft boards at the time projecting him to be picked in the 20s, it’s kind of amazing he was picked 13th in the first round by the Pacers in retrospect. By that point, most NBA teams had come around to the fact you want to take the younger player that has more room and time to improve. Hansbrough would turn 24 years old a couple of weeks into his rookie season. For all intents and purposes, he was a fully formed player. An undersized PF by NBA standards of the era, that couldn’t shoot the 3, and that relied on the bully ball in college. He did have more athleticism than most would have expected, but not great measurable.

Hansbrough was still great enough at the qualities he had to carve out a respectable career, but not one less typical of the level of college career he had as a multiple-time All-American, National Player of the Year, NCAA Champion. Hansbrough was the only four-time All-American. Just say that phrase is crazy as players weren’t even allowed to play as freshmen through the early history of college basketball. If you were that good in the 80s and 90s you went pro early with little more to prove. Hansbrough was unique in that he was never really highly projected by the NBA and stuck around in a time of one-and-done.

Hansbrough was already 20 years old the first game he stepped onto a college court as a “freshman”. This almost certainly contributed to his physical and game readiness immediately. Add in the “Psycho T” edge he had on the court to power is tough inside the game. Most would call him the most laidback in the locker room or the shy kid growing up.


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