Tyler Hansbrough has enjoyed a breakthrough season while trying to help the Pacers get back to the playoffs.
Hansbrough has showed the energy and passion for the game that made him one of the greatest players in North Carolina college basketball history. He recently took a stroll down memory lane at the NCAA Hall of Champions.
"A lot of hard work and a lot of fun with that Carolina group. It was an amazing ride," Hansbrough said, reminiscing about the Tar Heels' national championship.
He agreed that the title was validation for his career, to win during his senior year.
"We put so much work into it. It was more just satisfying than anything else," he said.
Hansbrough was the national player of the year that season. North Carolina later retired his number 50 jersey.
"When I walk in the Smith Center this summer, I look up there with Hansbrough up there, with [Michael] Jordan, [Antawn] Jamison and all those guys, [Phil] Ford. It's special. It's kind of funny, me and my brother and some of the managers, we look up there and [are] kind of blown away," he said.
He jokes about his game as a "smooth, finesse guy, real graceful. No, ha, I am high energy, kind of aggressive."
Hansbrough's aggressive play earned him the nickname "Psycho T" in college and he continues to go all out with the Pacers.
"You are in a zone on the court, aren't you? Have you always been that way?" asks Eyewitness Sports Director Dave Calabro.
"Yeah, that's me. I am dialed in, focused in. I put a lot of work into it. I always played hard, had a passion for it," Hansbrough said.
Pacers Announcer Clark Kellogg has watched Tyler's career take off. That intensity is a welcomed addition to the Blue & Gold.
"I think that will allow him to become one of the leaders as we go forward. He has leadership capabilities, because of his consistency, because of his character. He has been a winner, so I think those are all qualities people like to see, especially in the state of Indiana, where people love basketball," Kellogg said.
Hansbrough likes competition, even if it's just at the golf simulator. But golf isn't his favorite pastime. He prefers the game that Forrest Gump made famous.
"Me and my brothers are big ping pong players. So whenever we get together, it's a competition. So I am always finding a way to better my ping pong game, joining leagues, going against people that are better than me. We love ping pong," Hansbrough said. "Our new addition has been bowling. Me and my brother have been a bit bored, so we've been bowling and I am a big movie guy."
But this spring, Hansbrough is focused on his first passion and putting the Pacers in the playoffs.
"It would mean a lot. First of all, it would be a huge accomplishment for the program. It's been awhile since we have been in the playoffs, being a part of it would be great. I would love to see this community get involved and come together, to really support us for a playoff push. It would be great," Hansbrough said.
He certainly left his mark in college basketball and now, Hansbrough is focused on his next mission - bringing the Pacers back to the top of the NBA.
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