Is that Buck Williams? No, it’s Tyler Hansbrough

On Tuesday news came out that University of North Carolina power forward Tyler Hansbrough won the Sporting News Player of the Year for Men’s College Basketball. With this award, Hansbrough enters the rare territory of hanging in the rafters with the likes of Michael Jordan and James Worthy.

But when watching Hansbrough play it is not ACC greats such as Jordan and Worthy that come to mind, but rather a once-dominating ACC power forward named Buck Williams. One can’t help to look at the two players and not see striking similarities in their game.

Both players are 6’8” power forwards who played their college ball in the ACC, Williams at Maryland and Hansbrough at UNC. Both were the ACC Freshman of the Year with Williams’ award coming in 1979 and Hanbrough’s in 2006. In 1980 and 1981, Williams averaged 15.5 points per game and led the ACC in rebounding in 1979 and 1981. He earned All-American honors in 1981 while being named to the All-ACC team in 1980 and 1981.

Like Williams, Hansbrough is the dominant big man in the ACC. In his freshman and sophomore campaigns he averaged 18 points and 7 rebounds per game. This season Hansbrough is putting up the impressive numbers of 23 points and 10 rebounds per game. Each season at UNC Hansbrough has been named to the ACC First Team, in addition to being named a Sporting News First Team All-American in 2007 and 2008. Both players have been recognized by their college teams; Williams was named to the University of Maryland Hall of Fame in 2001 and Hansbrough is having his jersey retired and looks to be a lock to some day join the UNC Hall of Fame.

Williams’ and Hansbrough’s similarities go beyond the numbers and on to the court where they are both are characterized by hard-nosed play. Like Williams, Hansbrough plays a gritty down-low game that is predicated on offensive rebounds, tough put-backs, and in-your-face-defense. Hansbrough has yet to show the “lock-down defense” that came to be Williams’ trademark, but he is one of the better defending big men in the NCAA while also having a knack for drawing and taking charges. However, at this point in their respective careers, Hansbrough looks to be the more offensively talented of the two.

We at the BlazersOG are already on record with being big fans of Hansbrough and want to see him in a Blazer jersey. Some doubt the ability of Hansbrough’s game to transfer to the NBA and question his ability to succeed at that level. Who knows, with all college players it is always difficult to predict success. But if history has shown anything, it is that there is always a place for tough big men willing to play hard nose defense and hit the boards, just ask Buck Williams.


11 Responses to “Is that Buck Williams? No, it’s Tyler Hansbrough”

  1. Buck Williams’ Blazers teams were 1st class outfits that had the misfortune of playing their best ball during an era dominated by some very special squads in the annals of the NBA.

    Much like Buck, fans of Tyler Hansbrough should expect him to be a solid (not a superstar) ‘pro’ who has a long and productive NBA career.

  2. T-brough., as I like to call him, is a consistent baller, who can score from the inside and also hit the occasional three. The biggest problem he has is the ability to make the transition basket. I truly feel T-brough is a poor man’s Kevin Love minus the age. If K-Love can do what Hansbrough can do at 19 why focus so much attention on him. I also feel that Michael Beasley should have been awarded the Player of the Year. It almost seems to me that Hansbrough was granfathered in by the white established press.

  3. Hansbrough’s complexion is irrelevant towards his winning of this and other such awards.

    Basketball observers, everywhere, appreciate the rare qualities this young brings to the table each and every day.

    That said, in my opinion, he is NOT the best player in NCAA D1 men’s basketball this year, and NOT the individual whom I, personally, would have voted for this award, if given that opportunity.

    At the NBA level, much like Buck Williams before him, Psycho-T will have a long and productive career … but he is simply not superstar material.

  4. Say what you want: He is not good enough for the NBA, he won because he is white, he won’t crack a roster, etc….Bottom line is this guy is just plain tough. We all KNOW the Blazer right now lack a badass, hardnosed player down low. With Oden on board next season that helps the first unit…but what about the second? I am a big Frye fan, but again his game is like that of LMA outside jumper. We need Buck Williams incarnate and that is Hansbrough. No, he will not be a starter, and frankly our starting unit is close to being set. But we also need a stud clean-up guy on our second unit.

    When Pryz goes out now we are left with Outlaw playing PF sometimes and Frye being our defacto center….not good for rebounding.

    Looking over the reply’s from that original draft post I ran across this one…

    Casey Says:
    January 30, 2008 at 9:12 am
    Hansbrough? I thought you guys were Blazer fans. Is he better than McRoberts? Doubtful. He’s a stiff of epic proportions. Besides, with Przybilla, Frye, Oden and Aldridge, there’s no real need for another big body.

    This guy is obviously not a Blazer fan. He makes the case that Hansbrough is not better than McRoberts…yes your right Josh just BLEW UP the NCAA didn’t he? No room for another big body? We have one legit big body next year in Oden who will be a rookie. I love Oden but don’t expect the guy to be Wilt the Stilt in his first year. Pryz does a good job but we all know he can fade in games and until this year has not played a full season…not something to rely on. Frye and LMA are not big time rebounders, if they were we would not be near the end in rebounding and get out rebounded every game. Casey….what type of Blazer fan are you? Obviously not a realistic one.

    Look at Luke Walton, the guy is a goof who excels in his role. Hansbrough is the same. He will do what you need and do it hard. Do we take him if we have the top 5 picks? I don’t know. But I will tell you this he would mesh with our team and our style. What more does Nate want then a stud that beats the piss out of his opponents and plays injured? We have moved to a team of good guys who play hard. But we lack a badass who does not back down. This is that guy….this is Buck Williams for our new team.

  5. Juan,

    As long as he’s taken somewhere lower down in the draft order, I think Hansbrough is a solid pick and will fulfil the exact role you’ve just outlined for him on whatever NBA team makes that selection.

    Like you, I think he’s going to be a very productive NBA role player.

  6. I’m not sure I’d say Hansbrough is an exact replica of Buck (no rec-specs and doesn’t wear spandex under his shorts), but I agree that he seems as tough as a college player can be.

    The thing we can’t ignore is that we’ve got Joel and Greg as our centers, hopefully for the next decade. While I agree that Frye has a similar game to LMA, it’s going to work very well when we’ve got Oden destroying every person and every thing in the paint. Frye is a great outside shooter and is becoming a very good rebounder. I think as long as we have a SF that will put the hurt on people, we won’t need another bruising post-player when we’ve got GO or Joel out there.

    I like Hansbrough’s game, I’m just not sure that we need it right now (like we need a PG or lockdown perimeter defender).

  7. I agree that our PFs and Cs are set. But I think Tyler can be a brusing SF in the back-up unit. If we have James Jones and Webster gunning out of that second unit we could run Frye, Pryz, and Tyler together…Pryz and Tyler down low and Frye a pick and pop guy.

    The NBA is going to these unorthodox lineups…case and point Phoenix running Stoudamire as a C for most of the year. We counter with our quick, athletic big men not many can stop us.

    Remember, Oden ran the court only tenths of a second slower than Aaron Brooks in the pre draft workouts….we can be both big and fast…no one can compete.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Ya, I read that comment from that Casey guy also….he is probably one of those bandwagon fans that does not come to the Garden when the team has lost 3 in a row…but LOVES them when they win.

    Casey…here is what said about him today as part of their All American Team:

    “Every possession is played as if it were his last. Hansbrough plays with the kind of passion that every coach dreams of when they recruit a player. In the past three years, Hansbrough has developed into the most consistent player in the country. North Carolina can count on him being productive in some fashion in every game.”

    Suck it Casey…go back and be a Laker fan.


    The awards just keep rolling in for this dude.

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