PSYCHO T didn'tstand a chance. During North Carolina's annual team paintball blowout lastmonth, sophomore forward Tyler (Psycho T) Hansbrough made a break for it,launching a screaming, Rambo-style solo raid on the center flag. "We don'tplay 'You're shot, you're dead,' so Tyler took a pounding," says teammateBobby Frasor. When the paint-smeared Hansbrough finally stumbled back tosafety, he couldn't help but notice the location of the nation's finestrecruiting class. "All the freshmen were in the back huddled behind a tree,not wanting to get hit," he recalls with a laugh. "Meanwhile, I gotnailed about 47 times."
Tar Heels fanscan only hope the story isn't a metaphor for the coming season--and they havereason to believe it won't be. After a rookie campaign in which he became thefirst freshman to lead Carolina in both points (18.9) and rebounds (7.8) pergame, the 6'81/2", 244-pound Hansbrough has added 10 pounds of muscle andimproved his jump shot, hook and inside countermoves. Even more important, hefigures to be liberated by a deep supporting cast. "Last year we didn'thave a big offensive rebounder down low when they double-teamed Tyler, and nowwe should," says coach Roy Williams. "We're also hoping our perimeterguys will be better so that it'll be tougher to double- and triple-team Tyler,because he's awfully tough to defend with just one guy."
Though Williams'sresearch showed that Hansbrough would have been picked somewhere between 14thand 24th in June's NBA draft, Hansbrough maintains that he never seriouslyconsidered turning pro. "I really like this place, and I'd like to see howfar we can go in the tournament," he says. Several observers thoughtHansbrough was the most impressive post player during summer pickup games inthe Dean Dome that included such Tar Heels NBA alums as Brendan Haywood, SeanMay and Marvin Williams.
The foundationfor Hansbrough's success is a daily routine that leaves his teammates andcoaches floored. "Tyler's more disciplined about doing the right thing forhis body than anyone I've ever seen," says Roy Williams. That meansstretching four times for every practice and game, lifting weights 12 hoursafter games and eating a gut-busting six meals a day. Eschewing the Midwesternfare that he grew up on in Poplar Bluff, Mo., Hansbrough scarfs down foods richin protein and other nutrients. "At 11 o'clock the other night he wascooking bison," marvels Frasor, his roommate.
November 20, 2006
Jonas Sahratian,the Tar Heels' strength and conditioning coach, also has Hansbrough eatingostrich and sushi. "I remember introducing Tyler to sushi one night, and hewas stabbing at it with his chopsticks," says Sahratian, who gave him thenickname Psycho T for his primal screams during weightlifting sessions."Now he goes and orders, like, nine rolls. He even eats babyoctopus."
Hansbrough isn'tjust some hoops-playing cyborg, however. While much was made of the cryingoutburst by Gonzaga's Adam Morrison during last year's NCAA tournament, it hadnothing on Hansbrough's teary reaction in the locker room after the Tar Heelslost to George Mason in the second round.
The next dayPsycho T was back in the gym. "Tyler's not going to get fat and happy at23, not at 26, not at 29," says Roy Williams. "On the day before hegives up basketball, he'll have a tremendous workout. I believe that from thebottom of my heart."