DETROIT - Google the phrase "
Among Hansbrough's critics' complaints: He isn't athletic. He'll make a lousy pro. When he flashes that bug-eyed, slack-jawed, "Who, me?" look at the refs every time they whistle him for a foul, he looks like Beaker from The Muppets.
Here's another one for the list. He has no rhythm. None whatsoever. When the North Carolina band struck up
Guess what? He doesn't care. You can criticize his jumper. You can compare him to a
Though he tried his best for four seasons to block them out, the ACC's all-time leading scorer couldn't help but hear his critics. Monday, as he scored 18 and grabbed seven rebounds to help the Tar Heels to an 89-72 win against Michigan State (
That something special began in 2005, when Hansbrough, Green,
Copeland's suspicions were confirmed his freshman year when the players took a dip in the pool at the Dean Smith Center. Hansbrough climbed to the highest diving platform and did a belly flop. But in the weight room and on the practice court, Copeland saw something else. "He's the most dedicated player I've ever been around. Ever. He does everything he's supposed to do. Everything."
That's why when Hansbrough decided to return for his senior season, the Tar Heels' other potential pros followed him back to Chapel Hill. And while point guard
When Carolina coach
So go ahead, rip Hansbrough. Prank call him, even. He's gotten plenty of those. At this point, he'd welcome a few more. "When they prank call me, I'll just leave it at that," Hansbrough said. "I'll be like, 'I'm a national champion.'"
As the celebration raged, Hansbrough kept uttering the phrase "national champion," as if he couldn't believe his dream had finally come true. But the net around his neck and the smile on his face provided plenty of proof. The Hansbrough haters can't touch him now.
"Say what you want," Hansbrough said. "I'm a national champion. Who can say they're a national champion? I can. That's right."