Now that Tyler Hansbrough and his North Carolina Tar Heels won the NCAA Championship last night, an interesting discussion is about to ensue. Just where does Hansbrough fall in the history of all-time great college basketball players?
I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on the situation.
Love him or hate him, you can’t argue with the kid’s production. While his playing style isn’t exactly viewer-friendly, when you look at the achievements (titles, awards, stats, etc.) over the course of his four-year career you come to realize that he’s the most accomplished college basketball player since Christian Laettner.
For those who don’t agree with me, let’s just take a gander at what he’s done since he arrived in Chapel Hill.
- 2006 numbers: 18.9 points, 7.8 rebounds per game, 57.0 percent from the field. First freshman to be unanimous First Team All-ACC. Second Team All-American.
- 2007 numbers: 18.4 points, 7.9 rebounds per game, 52.5 percent from the field. Unanimous First Team All-ACC, First Team All-American.
-2008 numbers: 22.6 points, 10.2 rebounds per game, 54.0 percent from the field. Unanimous First Team All-ACC, FIrst Team All-American, ACC Tournament Most Valuable Player and NCAA Tournament Regional MVP.
-2009 numbers: 20.8 points, 8.2 rebounds per game, 51.7 percent from the field. Unanimous First Team All-ACC, First Team All-American.
- Career averages of 20.2 points, 8.6 rebounds per game.
- 2006 ACC Freshman of the Year.
- 2008 ACC Conference Player of the Year.
- 2008 Consensus National Player of the Year.
- ACC’s All-Time Leading Scorer (2,872) points.
- NCAA’s All-Time free throw makes leader (982).
- North Carolina’s career rebounds leader (1,219).
- UNC’s career field goals leader (939).
- One of only eight players in ACC history to compile 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career.
- First player to be selected First-Team All-ACC player unanimously four times.
- Four time All-American (three first team selections, one second team).
- Career record of 124-22.
- Part of winningest class in UNC history.
- Three regular season ACC titles.
- Two ACC Tournament titles.
- Two Final Fours.
- One National Championship.
Again, like him or not, you can’t argue that Hansbrough has had a remarkable career. Last night’s title immediately puts him into the discussion as one of the greatest college basketball players of all-time. Remember, when you consider something like that, I’m saying he’s in the discussion, he’s not the best. Also, that type of distinction has nothing to do with the player’s talent level or how he performs as a professional.
Hansbrough will likely never be a regular starter in the NBA, but who cares? We’ll always remember his name and he’ll always have that title to keep him warm.
So, respect to Tyler Hansbrough. It’s been a hell of a ride for four years watching him play. Congrats to him on staying all four years and getting his title. He certainly earned it.