Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tyler Hansbrough

Congrats to Tyler Hansbrough for becoming the top scorer in Carolina history. He truly is a fantastic player and seemingly a solid human being. Certainly deserving of the honor.

Still, I have a problem with this. Watch the video, including the shot to break the record a few times. Having the opportunity to listen to ESPN Radio for the first time in ages, I heard a lot about this shot. Several analysts repeated some version of this line: "It's fitting that that was the shot to break the record. It's a good example of his sometimes ugly, but hardnosed style. Blah, blah, blah..."

While that is very true (Hansbrough works his tail off and often looks a bit out of control on the floor), it is also a travel. Seriously, watch it again! One dribble, pivot, pivot again, shot. You can't move that pivot foot. I don't care if you are "Psycho T" or Patrick Moody, let's just get the officials to call real violations instead of the ticky-tack stuff that gets too much emphasis and ruins the flow of the game. For the most oft-replayed shot of the game to be such a blatant travel is very unfortunate.

To his credit, Scott Van Pelt (probably my favorite ESPN talking head) addressed this on his radio show with Mike Tirico saying the rest of the ACC will tell you "Hansbrough walks on damn near every play." It's an unfortunate reality that the best players get calls, especially on a special night like last night. While that can fly in the NBA, which is all about star promotion and selling tickets, it has to stop in college hoops. Tyler Hansbrough is fantastic player, there is no need to let him off easy and cheapen his night by swallowing your whistle every time he moves that pivot foot.

Enough of a rant, I also thought it interesting how Van Pelt broke down Hansbrough's professional future, because I think his weaknesses are very similar to Luke Harangody. Hansbrough is too small to bang inside against the multiple seven footers on NBA rosters. He will have to play a lot facing the basket and extending the game with a consistent fifteen to twenty foot jumper. Hansbrough has an inch and a bit more athleticism than 'Gody, but I think a similar pro ceiling. Both could be solid rotation guys, but not stars in the league. Still, you never know and with the work ethic of both players, we could be pleasantly surprised.

EDIT: Wow, it's been a negative Friday. Sorry about that, folks. Hopefully things will be all bright and sunny tomorrow.

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