NCAA Tournament Notebook: Hansbrough close to record
Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 19, 2009
By Bret Strelow
GREENSBORO ó North Carolina senior Tyler Hansbrough needs three points to pass former Duke star J.J. Redick for first place on the ACC’s career scoring list.
The Tar Heels square off against Radford today in an NCAA tournament opener, and Hansbrough laughed at a question regarding whether or not coach Roy Williams would call a play to give Hansbrough a shot at a record-breaking 3-pointer.
“No, but I will pull it if it happens,” Hansbrough joked.
Hansbrough enters the NCAA tournament with 2,767 career points, and Redick accounted for 2,769 from 2002-06.
Hansbrough is currently the 17th-leading scorer in Division I history.
“Tyler has been one of the greatest players in the history of our conference,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, whose team meets Binghamton in the night session at the Greensboro Coliseum. “The fact that, in this day and age, for him to be here four years is, I think, a really big compliment to their program and their university.”
TWO’S A CROWD: North Carolina and Duke are playing in the same NCAA tournament venue for the first time since 2005, when both teams were in Charlotte.
The large number of UNC fans treated Duke like an unwelcome visitor to the Charlotte Coliseum, and the Blue Devils advanced to Austin, Texas.
“Personally I was young, and I was expecting ó we were close to home ó it’s probably going to have a lot of home fans,” fifth-year senior David McClure said. “When we walked out there, there were actually more Duke fans at our next site than were at home. It was surprising to see so many Carolina blue shirts and hear some of the heckles.”
Duke received a warm welcome from fans in Greensboro on Wednesday.
SHOT IN THE DARK: UNC senior Danny Green went 3-for-25 from the field and totaled nine points in two ACC Tournament games at the cavernous Georgia Dome, but his slump actually started toward the end of the regular season.
He’s 10-for-45 in the Tar Heels’ last four games.
“There’s no secret,” Green said. “You want to shoot better, you have to keep shooting the ball.”
FIRM STANCE: Radford coach Brad Greenberg said he has respect for the level of loyalty former UNC players show their alma mater.
“I always kid around and say Carolina isn’t a program,” Greenberg said. “It’s like they’re ‘The Firm’ from the Tom Cruise movie. Once you’re part of it, you can’t get out of it.”
Greenberg spent four years at Virginia Tech as an assistant to his younger brother, Seth, and is in his second season with Radford.
Needing a victory against North Carolina in each of the last two ACC Tournaments to help its chances of making the NCAAs, Virginia Tech lost a pair of dramatic heartbreakers.
Radford’s Greenberg was in Chapel Hill at the Smith Center watching prep state finals two seasons ago when Hansbrough hit a game-wining shot against the Hokies.
“I was looking over the shoulder of one of those security guys who had one of those hand-held TVs,” Greenberg said. “When Hansbrough made that shot, a whole bunch of people started buzzing around. They were happy.
“Someone looked at me, and I went, ‘Damn!’ They said, ‘What’s the matter?’ I said, ‘That’s my brother they just beat.’ ”
BEAST FROM BELARUS: Radford, the Big South champion, is led by 6-foot-11 center Artsiom Parakhouski (16.3 points, 11.2 rebounds), 6-8 forward Joey Lynch-Flohr (13.7 points) and 6-3 guard Kenny Thomas (14.8 points).
Parakhouski, a junior college transfer, is from Belarus.
“He’s played basketball for five years,” Greenberg said. “Tyler Hansbrough, it seems that he’s been a first-team All-American for five years.”
Parakhouski said he knows Hansbrough plays hard every game. Greenberg went a step further, calling Hansbrough “indefatigable.”
The Highlanders capped a 4-9 start to their season with an 83-61 loss at Wake Forest, which trailed with just over 14 minutes left and was outrebounded 45-39. Parakhouski had 15 points and 16 rebounds against the Deacons.
UPSET SPECIAL: A 16th-seeded team has never beaten a top seed in the NCAA tournament, but Greenberg has first-hand experience with a major upset.
He was an assistant coach for St. Joseph’s when it won 59-57 against top-ranked DePaul in the second round of the 1981 tournament. Greenberg said that game was available for him and his current players to watch as Radford traveled from Virginia to Greensboro.
“At least I watched it,” Greenberg said. “Most of the guys were asleep, but I liked watching it.”
POINT OF CONCERN: Duke’s run to an ACC Tournament title featured wins against a trio of talented point guards.
The Blue Devils beat Boston College (Tyrese Rice), Maryland (Greivis Vasquez) and Florida State (Toney Douglas).
“Coach wants us to kind of get back to who we are,” McClure said. “Through different games in the ACC Tournament, in each game you make a lot of changes to adapt to the different players and different offenses a team might have. In doing so, every now and then you sort of lose the standards you have.
“You might change one thing for one game and forget what we do every game.”