SI.com: Tyler Hansbrough National Player of the Year

Hopefully the first of many of these awards for the junior.

Hansbrough’s chief player of the year rival, Kansas State freshman forward Michael Beasley, comes armed with his own Akebono-sized credentials. Not only were Beasley’s averages (26.7 points and 12.6 rebounds) slightly better than Hansbrough’s (23.4 and 10.4) at week’s end, but they also exceeded those of Texas’s Kevin Durant (25.8 and 11.1) when Durant became the first freshman to be named national player of the year, last season. But Beasley’s competition for the award is stiffer than Durant’s was. Hansbrough’s individual numbers are certainly good enough; he and Beasley were two of only six players averaging at least 20 points and 10 boards. What’s more, Psycho-T has been a tougher defender, and he clearly outpaces B-Easy in the most important deal breaker: North Carolina was 27-2 and ranked No. 1 on Monday (not least because Hansbrough averaged 29.0 points during the six games that point guard Ty Lawson recently missed because of injury), while unranked Kansas State was 18-10.

Sure, Beasley is likely to be the No. 1 pick in the next NBA draft — at least 15 spots ahead of Hansbrough, should both declare for the pros this year — but the last time we checked, POY was a college award. “Beasley is a better player,” says Gonzaga coach Mark Few, “but with the year Carolina has had and the fact that [Hansbrough] plays every second like it’s his last, I’d vote for him. When we were getting ready to play Carolina [last season], we’d show clips of him to our guys and say, ‘See, this is what we mean when we talk about playing hard.’ He’s putting out more effort for longer stretches than most college players can even begin to understand. And he’s certainly great for college basketball.”

Hansbrough’s credentials are impressive enough, but it’s hard not to give him bonus points for squeezing out every bit of his potential, for never coasting, for giving three All-America seasons to the college game during an era in which nobody expects more than one. “Tyler is not even the most gifted player on my team, much less the most gifted player in college basketball,” says Williams. “But no one has a bigger heart. No one has more desire than Tyler Hansbrough.”

This sums up pretty well what I think the real case for Hansbrough as NPOY.  Yes, Michael Beasley has better raw numbers but the intangibles, the winning and the fact his level of play went up about sixteen notches when Ty Lawson went out and through all that UNC became the #1 team in the country while Kansas State is looking at sweating out Selection Sunday is fairly compelling.

Also, Hansbrough will likely pass Antawn Jamison and Larry Miller on the all time scoring list tonight and if he scores 35 or more he will pass the 2000 point mark, only the sixth Tar Heel to do so.

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13 Responses to SI.com: Tyler Hansbrough National Player of the Year

  1. Chris says:

    Hate to disagree with Roy but I think he is the most gifted Carolina player. I guess he’s thinking about Lawson, but Lawson will never have the college career that Tyler has had, and Tyler will be a steady blue collar worker in the NBA, and Lawson’s NBA career is yet to be determined. If Roy were starting an NBA franchise today and had to choose one of his players for the team, I find it hard to believe that he would choose anyone (even a healthy Lawson) over Tyler.

  2. Wilson says:

    That still doesn’t totally take away from the fact that he doesn’t have the most gifts. He’s just really good at using his.

  3. Much deserved. There are few whom we will ever see that get more out of their potential than PsychoT.

  4. 52BigGameJames says:

    I’ll admit I haven’t watched Beasley play more than a couple of minutes, but where does defense and rebounding enter into this equation? I can see MB possibly having a slight edge as far as offensive explosion, but he’d have to be a stud to beat out Tyler on the defensive end imo. Free-throws? Strength of competition?

  5. william says:

    That is hard to parcel out because teams play defense together in a way that cannot be separated out the way one can on offense. Hansbrough does not block many shots, we keep hearing, but I assume that a lot of that has to do with Carolina’s defensive scheme.

  6. rwise says:

    Hansbrough may not block many shots but he steals, takes charges,knows how to move his feet and play posistion defence and all of the other basic thing we want form true defensive players.

  7. 52BigGameJames says:

    I actually think he presents a pretty tough situation for opposing coaches. Most post players are used as decoy/screen players up top, and are usually able to draw their defender out to both open up passing lanes, and set themselves up for drives. Tyler almost plays point-like pressure when you do that, and you’re taking a big risk of getting the ball stripped, and an easy lay-up. A blocked-shot doesn’t lead directly to a score, but Tyler often gets a lay-up, or an outlet for one whenever his mark tries to put the ball on the floor. Few teams have caught on to this, quite simply because most players don’t believe he can be that good at it—at least not until about the 4th or 5th strip.

  8. Tar Heel Fan says:

    I cannot recall if I have ever seen a player Hanbrough’s size get as many breakway dunks as he has this season. Some of those come on the break but he also has them from either a direct steal and dunk or knocking it away, having a teammate grab it and pass it to him as he streaks down the court.

  9. 52BigGameJames says:

    yeah, that’s what I’m getting at THF. Just accounting for his offensive clutch ability doesn’t fully paint the picture of this player. I can live with the “Psycho T” moniker, but I believe “The Terminator” might be more illustrative of his relentless nature.

  10. william says:

    He kind of reminds me of Dave Cowens.

  11. 52BigGameJames says:

    don’t you mean Magic Johnson?

  12. william says:

    Cowens ran the court really wll. If Hansbrough can add the mid-range jumper to his game, I think he can be an excellent NBA player. Would you really want to bet against this guy?

  13. 52BigGameJames says:

    I wouldn’t bet against seeing Tyler jack some 3’s in the Dance, at some semi-critical juncture. I think Roy’s been hidin that Ace till he needs it.

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