November 7, 2007

Tar Heel Profile: Tyler Hansbrough

North Carolina junior big man Tyler Hansbrough is heading into a season of very high expectations. As one of the favorites for ACC and national Player of the Year honors, Hansbrough knows that other teams will be gunning for him, but with two years of experience under his belt, he knows full well what to expect from opposing teams each time out.

"I definitely think a lot of teams' strategies is play real physical, push me around, try to get me frustrated, and I try not to let that bother me," he said. "I'm a physical player, and I can handle that. I'm used to it. I saw it all last year. It will come with experience. I'll just handle it each time better and better."

"The one that's really proven himself is Tyler, because the other team's defense, before the coach leaves the locker room, the last thing he talks about is, 'We've got to do something to stop Hansbrough.' They've been after that for two years," said UNC head coach Roy Williams. "You have to be able to go when the other team's defense is aimed at you, and if you can, then you're really something. He'll be able to handle the frustrations of being double and triple-teamed more (this season), because he's more used to it all the time. I'd say the No. 1 deal is just the experience factor, and being able to shoot the ball more facing up, as opposed to with his back to the basket all the time."

Hansbrough, who received 60 of a possible 64 votes for preseason ACC Player of the Year, has worked diligently in the weight room and gym over the past several months to improve his game on both ends of the floor. Key emphases for Hansbrough were face-up shooting, and improving his defensive speed and reaction time. After averaging 18.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game in 2006-2007, which earned him first-team All-American honors, Hansbrough is looking to elevate his performance on the court by doing more things this season.

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