Get inside March Madness with SI.com's Luke Winn in the Tourney Blog, a daily journal of college basketball commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
3/09/2007 05:20:00 PM
The Definitive Mask Post
Doug Benc/Getty Images
The mask's post-game resting place on Friday, following UNC's win over Florida State.
TAMPA, Fla. -- This Tyler Hansbrough mask story isn't going to die just yet. He scored just six points in 27 minutes with it on; the ACC tournament media horde swarmed him afterward to ask about it; he's still going to be wearing it Saturday against Boston College; and he still hates it. "I don't like anything on my body," said Hansbrough. "I'm not even a guy that gets taped."
The Tourney Blog, in its effort to bring you the best mask coverage possible, did some canvassing of the UNC locker room after Friday's 73-58 win over Florida State. (If the New York Times' blog is covering bow ties at the Big East tournament, surely I can cover plastic facial guards in Tampa.) While Hansbrough sat in the middle of the room, surrounded by a large pack of middle-aged men holding cameras and notebooks, his mask lay neglected in his locker. It was gracious enough to pose for one photograph, which appears at right.
I asked senior guard Wes Miller, who was sitting a few lockers down from the mask, if any of the Heels had assigned Hansbrough new nicknames after the Gerald Henderson incident. Miller made the astute point that he didn't think a new nickname was necessary "because the mask just kind of fits into his personality anyways." Hansbrough was tugging at the mask all afternoon and had it ripped off within seconds of fouling out against the 'Noles, but really -- is there a player in the country who seem more fit for a mask than the reckless, rough-and-tumble Tar Heels star?
"Besides," added Miller, "Tyler's got so many nicknames anyway, he doesn't need anymore."
Turning to sophomore teammate Danny Green, Miller said, "How many nicknames does Tyler have? I can't even think of them all. We call him Psycho T, and T-Bone, and I just call him 'T' all the time."
"We call him Big Man, too," Green said.
"Oh, and Spaz-bro," Miller said.
Spaz-bro. That's the Blog's new favorite.
Meanwhile, it was discovered that junior point guard Quentin Thomas -- the author of the alley-oop mentioned in the Brandan Wright post -- did see fit to add to the Psycho/T-Bone/Big Man/Spaz-Bro arsenal with an ode to Gunnar Hansen. "At practice this week, I thought he looked like the guy from Texas Chain Saw Massacre, so I called him Leatherface," Thomas said. "I'm not sure if Tyler heard me, but if he did, well, Psycho T is Psycho T."
Sophomore guard Bobby Frasor, Hansbrough's best friend on the team, said the mask was at least good for something: comic relief in their first workout following the Duke game. "The first time he had it on in practice, it was pretty funny," Frasor said. "He was trying to get used to it and he didn't like the strap in the back, so he put it on underneath like a chin-strap. We're trying to run our offense, and here's Tyler with a chin-strap mask on. We were all just laughing at him."
Considering how UNC's last meeting with Boston College went -- a 77-72 Tar Heels win at Conte Forum that was never in doubt -- I welcome any and all appearances of the chin-strap mask. Both for amusement and future blog material.
Better get your laughs in now because if he can figure out that he might be less vulnerable wearing that mask....look out. You never know, it might turn out he is better with it than without. I'm sure Tyler will figure out something, he is just that kind of player.
Anyone else think he should get a pair of recspecs because he loses his contacts EVERY GAME!! To whoever thinks he doesn't take the punishment and hacks he receives under the basket well, I'd like to see any player in the nation take the kind of abuse he does and not get frustrated once in a while. At least he didn't hit him, unlike some other people who get frustrated because their losing. I won't name names.
So getting frustrated makes it right to swing at somebody under the basket? When Hansbrough swung at Costner, it was just as wrong as Henderson coming down on his face. Period. By the NCAA rules, that was fighting. He should have been ejected and suspended.
Your statement of "At least he didn't hit him" is just another example of how UNC fans canonize Hansbrough when he is just as guilty for similar transgressions. Frankly, I'm tired of it.
Also, please learn the correct usage of 'their' and 'they're'. Or better yet, use 'they are'. Assuming you went through the NC Public School system, it makes the rest of us look bad.