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Archive for Monday, March 10, 2008

Commentary: Enough with Hansbrough already

March 10, 2008

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The NCAA Tournament soon will be upon us. It normally is a highlight of the year for me.

Great teams abound. Upsets lurk. Unlikely stories present themselves. Tournament pools overflow. What's there not to like?

Well, now that you asked, North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough would be at the top of my "not-to-like" list. And right now, it's a list of one.

I don't know Hansbrough. He could be the nicest kid in the world, for all I know. He could be the kind of kid who helps old ladies in Duke jerseys across the street.

But if you want to talk about overexposure, you start with Hansbrough, who is on TV so much that, by comparison, Paris Hilton has an air of mystery to her.

It's not his fault. He fascinates the networks in a way no 22-year-old college basketball player should. He makes the most of his considerable ability, which is why Sports Illustrated made him its national player of the year. He will be an average player in the NBA, but that's really beside the point.

You would think he's Michael Jordan by the way the analysts yammer on about his "intensity," a word that apparently is surgically attached to Hansbrough and no one else. The lowlight came last year when ESPN announcer Bill Raftery uttered these words while the camera was trained on Hansbrough during a timeout: "Watching Tyler Hansbrough listen is special!"

Yes, watching Hansbrough intensely listen to his coach makes for thrilling television. In fact, I thought he got robbed in the Best Actor-Drama category in the 2007 Emmys.

College basketball announcers seem bewitched by Hansbrough's wide-eyed look on the court, and only further scientific study will tell us whether those eyes have gotten wider since he started realizing they were the focus of so much attention. As it stands, his eyes are bigger than Fat Albert's stomach.

Apparently no one else in college basketball hustles the way Hansbrough does. Other players dive for loose balls, but when Hansbrough does it, you would think he were diving on a grenade to save the lives of his teammates the way the TV announcers describe it.

There is something vaguely unsettling about all this. When was the last time you heard a broadcaster talk about the work ethic and intensity of a black player? Maybe that's overanalyzing things, but when you see other kids busting their butts on the court and getting no recognition for it, you try to understand why.

All I know is that, provided North Carolina keeps winning - and even then it might not make a difference - CBS will have wall-to-wall coverage of Hansbrough. The last person to get this much attention for his eyes was Superman, and it was for his extraordinary vision. I think I just gave CBS another story idea: Tyler Hansbrough, superhero. Where does a network go to get a cape?

When Duke's Gerald Henderson broke Hansbrough's nose with his elbow last season, you couldn't help but wonder whether that was for all the college basketball players who were sick of the gushing over the North Carolina forward. Henderson was suspended for a game. You also couldn't help but wonder if the networks at least might have taken a moment to consider whether they had played a role in the bloodletting.

And it came to you almost immediately: Nah.

Comments

craigers 6 years, 9 months ago

I completely agree with the article except for the little paragraph about race being a factor. It ruined a perfectly good article. However, I am tired of hearing about that kid as well. Hopefully UNC will bow out early this year so we don't have to listen to the hype.

JerkStore 6 years, 9 months ago

Morrissey is exactly right with regard to media reaction. When WAS the last time you heard a black player described in this way?

For example, the MVP of the Mo Valley was a guard named Adam Emmenecker. He averaged fewer than eight points per game while not making a three-pointer all season. But he's a point guard right? So that shouldn't matter. Well he also had the most turnovers per minute played of any starting point guard in the conference.

Sound like an MVP to you? Of course not, but he was credited with all sorts of scrappiness and other intangibles that are rarely bestowed on black players.

hoopsfan47 6 years, 9 months ago

Sorry, I agree with Kubacker. I also don't think whom you're sick of is worthy of an article.

So have I got you right? Hansbrough is a really nice, normal kid, one of the best players in the country, one who arguably works harder than anybody else, and the media likes him, so he deserved to have his nose broken? You're an idiot.

And JerkStore, news flash. Beasley isn't white and he's on my TV 10 times a day.

volunteer 6 years, 9 months ago

Craigers nailed it with the first post.

SoupBone 6 years, 9 months ago

I'm sick of watching Hansbrough shoot free throws.

Nobody else can even BREATHE in his general direction without a foul being called.

I agree...the thought that somehow he tries harder than every single other college cager is just preposterous.

craigers 6 years, 9 months ago

If you want to look at trying the hardest... why don't you take a look at Darnell Jackson. Now there is a guy with heart and intensity.

BrianR 6 years, 9 months ago

Hmmm, and to think, a short drive out I-70 is a better basketball player.

My dream headline after the first weekend would be something like Drake 91, North Carolina 66.

notajayhawk 6 years, 9 months ago

Remember all the hype about this guy? Yeah, he's really tearing the NBA up, isn't he?

http://www.nba.com/playerfile/jj_redick/

ksbug 6 years, 9 months ago

So averaging 23 points and 10.5 rebounds is not athletically gifted.

Get a life. If this article was about a Kansas player I seriously doubt all the comments would be the same.

And don't comment about Tyler's technique if you don't really watch UNC basketball, you just look silly.

jonas 6 years, 9 months ago

"craigers (Anonymous) says:

I completely agree with the article except for the little paragraph about race being a factor. "

I can see the sentiment, but I think it's a misinterpretation. It's not a question of individual black players getting under-exposed because they are black, but because we assume black athletes to be exceptional (and you all know that we do!) so it's somehow more of a big deal that Hansbrough is white.

Me, I think it has more to do with him being in the ACC and at North Carolina. If you want to talk about real bias in college basketball, the pro-ACC bias is probably a good place to start.

BigAl 6 years, 9 months ago

A lot of the sports "talking heads" come right out and say that Beasley is the better player but that they are still voting for Hansbrough. I wonder if they were reversed, Beasley playing for UNC and Hansbrough playing for K-State, would Hansbrough still be in the NPOY discussion? Would anyone know Hansbrough outside of the Big12? I wonder....

bullitt 6 years, 9 months ago

jonas (Anonymous) sez... "If you want to talk about real bias in college basketball, the pro-ACC bias is probably a good place to start."

ACC overrated?? Spoken like a true Big 12'er.
Did you ever think that Hansbough is the College Player of the Year because he, like most of Carolina players actually attend college for more than a year, and even graduate (to the tune of 86% over Kansas' paltry 45%).
We are talking about college here, right?

bullitt 6 years, 9 months ago

Sadly you will never have to answer to the media about your comments being ignorant and racist. You will never have to answer to hate watch groups asking you to step down. And you will absolutely never have to publicly apologies to Hansbrough.
This is because we live in a world of double standards. You will however have to come up with an answer for your stupid comments when Hansbrough raises the National trophy April 7. Hope you enjoy the Tournament as much as you are enjoying the double standards.

jonas 6 years, 9 months ago

You actually went and created a profile just to say that? Huh.

notajayhawk 6 years, 9 months ago

BigAl (Anonymous) says:

"A lot of the sports "talking heads" come right out and say that Beasley is the better player but that they are still voting for Hansbrough. I wonder if they were reversed, Beasley playing for UNC and Hansbrough playing for K-State, would Hansbrough still be in the NPOY discussion? Would anyone know Hansbrough outside of the Big12?"

Dick Vitale was one of those, and while he obviously has a slight ACC bias, he did have one good point: While Beasley is a better player, Hansbrough arguably brought more success to his team.


bullitt (Anonymous) says:

"Did you ever think that Hansbough is the College Player of the Year because he, like most of Carolina players actually attend college for more than a year, and even graduate (to the tune of 86% over Kansas' paltry 45%)."

Somehow I don't think that's ever been much of a concern. I remember when UConn's Emeka Okafor was considered ineligible for some awards because he wasn't a senior - but he graduated in three years.

jonas 6 years, 9 months ago

pro-ACC bias is probably a good place to start."

ACC overrated?? Spoken like a true Big 12'er."

pro-ACC bias =/= ACC overrated. Do try and keep up.

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