Talkin' with Tyler
More from UNC's Hansbrough, fans' behavior fallout
Posted: Thursday March 6, 2008 11:44AM; Updated: Thursday March 6, 2008 1:59PM
Congratulations to North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough, who appears on the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated as our national Player of the Year. The 'Bag would love to do an article someday on the stories behind what SI cover subjects were doing when they learned they'd made the cover. Maybe not all of them would be as good as the scene in Almost Famous when Stillwater learned they'd made the cover of Rolling Stone, but some of them probably would be.
Anyway, we'll begin this week's 'Bag with some good B-sides that didn't make it into the mag article:
After spending a couple hours last Thursday night at the four-bedroom off-campus house Hansbrough shares with teammates Bobby Frasor and Marcus Ginyard and UNC head manager Preston Puckett, I can see why Psycho T loves college life. The pad has just about anything a college kid could ask for: a plasma TV in the living room, a fridge stocked with food, close proximity to a Whole Foods store, four nice bedrooms (Ginyard's is bigger than the rest; Hansbrough calls it "the Presidential suite" and notes that Ginyard pays more than the other guys for it), and a sweet basement/rec room with a ping-pong table, a Wii (recently purchased by Hansbrough, once a notorious technophobe) and a full Rock Band set-up.
When asked if it bothers him that NBA pundits don't rate him as a lottery pick, Hansbrough had this to say: "That's one thing about me not really having a lot of pressure to leave [college] right there. It also drives me to stay in college and prove them wrong. I have room to improve, and I take it from there. I use it as motivation, to be honest with you."
North Carolina coach Roy Williams' take on the Hansbrough/NBA topic: "The NBA guys I talk to all say the same thing: he should do what he wants to do. When he comes to the NBA, he's going to be a first-round draft pick, probably not early, but he'll be a first-round draft pick. He's going to play in the NBA for 10 to 12 years, he'll make a lot of money and he'll live a wonderful life. They all appreciate how hard he works and know there's a place in the game for somebody like that."
Hansbrough's single-most impressive stretch of the season may have been the two games in three days between Feb. 10 (a 103-93 double-OT win over Clemson) and Feb. 12 (a 75-74 win at Virginia). Psycho T had 39 points, 13 rebounds and a game-changing mid-court steal in the second OT against Clemson. The next day marked the only practice he has ever missed at UNC as he dealt with the pain of losing an infected toenail off one of his big toes. When the doctor tried to drain the toe, "the needle went straight through the toe," says Hansbrough, who leaped up in pain. "It was probably the freakiest experience I've ever had." But instead of sitting out the Virginia game the next day, Hansbrough managed to suit up -- and score 23 points, including a critical jump-hook with 21 seconds left.
Another Quick Prelude
Before we get to the serious stuff in this week's 'Bag -- namely, the mountain of e-mail we received in response to our article in SI on college hoops fan abuse -- we have to get a question off our chest. The 'Bag tries not to be a journalistic lightweight asking fluff questions, but we spotted something about Boston College's Tyrese Rice in the midst of his ridiculous 46-point barrage against North Carolina on Saturday that made our head spin.
As the ABC cameras zeroed in on Rice leaving the court at halftime, he pulled up his jersey to reveal ... pinstriped boxer shorts riding up about five inches above his uniform shorts. And instantly we recoiled in imagined pain. (On the 'Bag's high school team this practice was called "Free-ballin", sung in the locker room to the tune of Tom Petty's Free Fallin', and was generally regarded as risky behavior if you wanted to have children someday.)
Anyway, the 'Bag knows that Barack Obama recently deflected the boxers-or-briefs question, but that's no reason for Rice to do the same. Could some intrepid Beantown hack get to the bottom of this? Rice already deserves credit for the greatest holy s--- performance of the season, but if he did it wearing boxer shorts that somehow raises it even higher in the pantheon. (At least he got full support from the home crowd.)