College Basketball: Tyler has a tough choice to make
By Robbi Pickeral
Raleigh News and Observer
Shortly after North Carolina’s 84-66 loss to Kansas in the Final four last Saturday, Tar Heels forward Tyler Hansbrough reiterated that “it’s every college basketball player’s dream to win a national championship.”
But will following that dream be enough to make him and teammates Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson return to Chapel Hill for another season?
All three said they would meet with coach Roy Williams and talk to their families before making any final decision. Williams consults with at least 10 NBA teams per season to gather information for his players. The deadline for declaring is April 27, and Williams said it might be several weeks before anything is announced.
The team’s end-of-season awards ceremony, where some players have disclosed their decisions in the past, is scheduled for next Thursday.
Losing any of the trio would hurt the Tar Heels, but the biggest impact will be made by Hansbrough, who led his team in scoring and rebounding, who swept the national player of the year awards and who already is eligible to have his jersey retired at UNC. Here’s how his decision breaks down:
REASONS TO STAY
123 AND 602: Number of points Hansbrough needs to set career scoring records for UNC and the ACC, respectively. Phil Ford leads UNC with 2,290; Duke’s J.J. Redick holds the league mark at 2,769 points.
Elusive title: Hansbrough led UNC one step closer this season ó to the Final Four. But he has yet to reach his ultimate goal.
Enjoying school: Although he is finished with Swahili classes, he still genuinely likes the college experience. And staying another season would allow him to play alongside good friend Bobby Frasor, who was sidelined with a knee injury this season.
No sense of urgency: His dad is an orthopedic surgeon, so the family doesn’t need his NBA paycheck.
REASONS TO GO
$933,500: Guaranteed first-year rookie salary for the 24th pick (where he is currently projected by nbadraftexpress.com) in the June draft. The top pick will make $4.019 million; the 30th will take home $797,600.
Proving them wrong: Some critics say he isn’t athletic enough to be a star in the NBA. The sooner he gets there, the sooner he’ll have the chance to make his detractors eat crow. And his NBA stock likely won’t get much higher … or lower.
Fearing overexposure: He started feeling some of the backlash that goes with being the NCAA’s top player when a few members of the national media complained that Hansbrough was “overexposed.” That sort of criticism is likely to increase.
Injury risk: Yes, he has a multi-million dollar insurance policy with the NCAA, but that only pays out if he suffers a career-ending injury. And as hard as he plays, opponents will continue to play him more physically.