The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday February 28th

M. Basketball: Hansbrough's 'ultimate goal'

Tyler Hansbrough talks to reporters after an 84-66 loss to Kansas in the 2008 Final Four. No. 50 holds countless UNC records but has yet to win a title.
Buy Photos Tyler Hansbrough talks to reporters after an 84-66 loss to Kansas in the 2008 Final Four. No. 50 holds countless UNC records but has yet to win a title.

When Tyler Hansbrough grabs the mic for his Senior Day speech after North Carolina's game against rival Duke on Sunday it will mark a celebration of the rarest order.

A once-in-a-lifetime player Hansbrough holds nearly every record of substance at UNC.

Most points in a career most double-figure scoring games most free throws made in the NCAA. And that doesn't even include the UNC career rebounding title and the ACC career scoring mark he's about to claim for himself.

The list of his statistical accomplishments could go on forever.

But there is one small hole in his otherwise over-packed trophy shelf. A hole that if filled" would cement Hansbrough in the Mount Rushmore of the college basketball world.

A national championship.

""I think that when you add a championship — national championship — it helps anybody's resume"" Hansbrough said in an interview Tuesday. That's the ultimate goal. You could trade in all these individual accomplishments for a national championship.""

For all of Hansbrough's successes" his teams have fallen short of history each of the past three seasons.

A second-round upset loss to George Mason came first. Then his sophomore season" the Tar Heels blew a late 11-point lead to Georgetown in the Elite 8. And everyone remembers last year's Final Four disaster against Kansas.

Hansbrough said he ""compares all those three losses in the same category"" because of the disappointment felt when the season unexpectedly and abruptly ended.

So if this year's postseason run ends in another agonizing defeat — a fourth for Hansbrough — would that affect how he views his career as a whole?

After all"" this is the player that said in his UNC media guide bio that winning the NCAA Tournament is his dream highlight.

""It has an effect" Hansbrough said. I don't think that if I look back and I didn't win a national championship — I don't think it's going to be a negative thing" because I've done so much here and been a part of something so good.

""I don't think very much can take away from that.""

When asked how postseason success affects a player's legacy"" coach Roy Williams also acknowledged that tournament wins carry some clout. But he too stressed that it doesn't overshadow or diminish an entire career.

""I think it factors in" there's no question Williams said during a press conference Feb. 27.

I think that you look at the whole" the whole body of work. I was an assistant coach here for 10 years.

""We won a national championship in '82. That's not the only thing I think about. I think about 10 great years.""

And with or without a ring"" Hansbrough's career has been like few others.

He's the face of UNC basketball. He's dominated the college hoops universe — on the court and in the media — for four years. He's almost become larger than life.

""People talk about legends" and I think Tyler's going to have this legend quality about him Bobby Frasor said Feb. 27.

These stories are going to build up and build up and people talk about (his appetite for) sushi now" and in 20 years maybe it's going to be that Tyler ate a live cow.""

Ask Hansbrough what he's most proud of" and he'll tell you that it's not all those points scored or rebounds secured. For him" it's something that represents the totality of his accomplishments.

""I would say having my jersey in the rafters is going to mean the most to me" he said.

When I was a freshman I used to go out on the court before practice. While I was shooting" I used to look up at all the great players that have played here and kind of pictured myself one day being up there.""

And when that No. 50 jersey hangs" it will be apparent what a championship can do for a legacy. Next to his jersey will be Lenny Rosenbluth's No. 10 Phil Ford's No. 12 Michael Jordan's No. 23 Antwan Jamison's No. 33 and James Worthy's No. 52 among others.

Rosenbluth Jordan and Worthy all won titles during their time at Chapel Hill. For some that's what first pops into mind when seeing their jerseys.

Hansbrough has individual numbers superior to those three and a national championship could push him to the top of UNC's all-time pecking order.

Fair or not" people measure players in part by their team's accomplishments.

""All the great players are considered at the top on how good their team does" is what I'm trying to get at" Hansbrough said.

A lot of players are judged on how good their team is.""


Contact the Sports Editor at sports@unc.edu.


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