Chicago — There was more than a touch of defiance in Tyler Hansbrough’s voice while he spoke Friday at the NBA predraft camp.
“Doubt me all you want, but I think I have a lot to prove,” the winner of the 2008 Naismith and Wooden awards said.
There are plenty of doubters whether Hansbrough’s abilities will translate into a successful NBA career after a wildly successful college career.
Hansbrough, who measured 6-foot-81⁄4, 234 pounds at the predraft camp, averaged 20.3 and 8.6 rebounds for his career and led North Carolina to the NCAA championship in April. However, many predictions have labeled him a middle-first-round pick.
“I’m not worried about it,” he said. “It’s just a bunch of people saying whatever they want. I think I’ll prove a lot of people wrong.
“They kind of doubted me in high school and said I wouldn’t be a good college player. I’ll bet a lot of people wouldn’t have thought I would have wound up being the ACC all-time leading scorer. They can doubt me or whatever, but I got the job done and won a national championship.”
North Carolina teammate Ty Lawson understands the chip Hansbrough carries on his shoulder.
“That would be motivation for anybody,” he said. “Last year everybody told me I would not go until the second round, and it made me want to work harder and come back this year.”
Concern over Hansbrough’s quickness and scoring ability led to much of the criticism. He hopes the predraft camp calms any such fears among NBA personnel.
“I think a lot of times people perceive me as a hard worker,” he said. “Sometimes my skills get overlooked. I’m a capable midrange shooter. I think I’ll prove that at a lot of these workouts.
“Some people say I’m not athletic. I think I move very well, and I move my feet well, too.”
Hansbrough thinks the NBA style of play will make it more possible for him to score.
“I’ve had three people guarding me for the past three years, so when I get to the NBA it’s going to be more one-on-ones. I think that’s a little different for me. I’ll be able to handle that.”