Sunday, March 30, 2008
Allow me just a moment...
Most of my blog posts are about things other than basketball, but if I may take a moment to A) celebrate the Tar Heels reaching a record-setting 17th Final Four, and B) address a couple issues regarding Tyler Hansbrough.
In this week's Sports Illustrated, a reader wrote in and said, "I find it hard to believe that you would give player of the year honors to "Psycho-T", a one-dimensional role player who can't dribble, stroke the three or mid-range jumper and is not a deft passer. He is definitely top 10, but his supporting cast has more to do with Carolina's record than Hansbrough. Swap him for Kansas State's Michael Beasley and arguably UNC goes perfect, while KSU's record flattens further." Now, clearly this reader does not get to watch many/any Carolina games in his hometown of St. Louis, and I am sort of glad this letter was posted, because it reveals the man as an idiot when it comes to college basketball. Last night, when Tyler's "supporting cast" faltered, he stroked two mid-range jumpers with clock winding down, scored 20 second-half points, and carried UNC to the Final Four. But to hear Jay Bilas describe the performance (where did Jay go to school, by the way? I forget), Tyler is lucky to have hit any of his shots outside of three feet. He "willed the ball" into the basket - what does that even mean? How do you "will" a ball in from 18 feet out?
We get it, people. We know that Tyler "never takes a play off", that "his will exceeds his skill", that Beasley will be the number one pick in the draft and Tyler would be late first round at best. But without Tyler, there is no Final Four for the Heels. And 36-2 is pretty close to perfect (with one loss being to Duke in our first game without Ty Lawson). There is no way Tyler Hansbrough is not the consensus national COLLEGE PLAYER of the year. Maybe not consensus best player or pro prospect, but combining value with skill, there is no contest. Put Hansbrough on K-state and I believe that they would be a better team. Put Beasley in Tyler's place at UNC and I believe we would already be out of the tournament. Raw talent alone does not make a player great.
And now, rant complete, I will enjoy a week anticipating an awesome Final Four, with four great teams, and hope that the Heels finish 38-2, winning the title and setting the NCAA record for most victories in a season. This has been a special team.
Posted by Marshall Benbow at 8:37 PM