Heels in Top 2 for Hansbrough

Tyler Hansbrough is being a bit more diplomatic these days, but according to sources, the small-town Missouri junior is favoring a couple of schools – one of them being in Chapel Hill.

The 6-9, 220-pound power forward from Poplar Bluff (Mo.) rattled off a dozen or so schools, but it's clear that UNC and Florida are at another level than the rest, which includes Kansas, Arizona, Michigan State, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Arkansas and Texas. Duke is apparently out of the running after picking up a commitment from 2005 forward Josh McRoberts last week.

You name it and they've offered.

The Tar Heels showed their level of interest when assistant Joe Holladay took a trip to Poplar Bluff earlier this week. UNC followed Arkansas, Illinois, Florida, Kansas, Michigan State and Missouri. Stanford was also in the gym to watch Hansbrough work out and Kentucky will be in soon.

The slender Hansbrough, who reminds some of a young Nick Collison and is has been dubbed "T-Bone" for his lithe physique, isn't so thin anymore. He was able to outwork opponents all summer despite having such a slender frame, but he's hit the weight room and the shakes since July and has put on 20 pounds.

"I want to improve my quickness and to be able to guard a two or a three man," said the ultra-aggressive forward who is a consensus Top 5 player in the class of 2005.

"Once he comes into the gym, he doesn't look like a player," St. Louis Eagles coach Eric Long said. "But he's got a nasty streak that kids his age just don't typically have."

Hansbrough burst onto the scene at the Nike Hoop Jamboree and proved it was no fluke with standout performances at the Nike All-American Camp, Peach Jam and in Orlando at the Super Showcase and AAU Nationals.

"I'm from a small town and we don't get as much hype as the guys coming out of St. Louis, so we have to take advantage of it," Hansbrough said. "I'm enjoying it."

He has the ability to score in the paint and is extremely active on both ends of the glass. However, he's not without his faults.

"He works so hard and just buys into everything, but what people don't realize is that he can shoot it," Long added. "The kid just doesn't want to make a mistake. He's afraid to. If he makes one mistake, he's done. He's going to miss shots, so he's got to work on being able to miss a shot and come back and take another one."

Hansbrough, an avid fisherman who once hauled in a 20-pound catfish back in the eighth grade, has already taken an unofficial visit to Florida immediately after the AAU Nationals ended. He's trying to get the process going and has also scheduled unofficials to Illinois (Sept. 27), Missouri (Oct. 11), where his dad was a high-jumper) and Kansas (Oct. 17).

He said a trip to Chapel Hill is in the works.

"I really like North Carolina," he said. "They have such a good tradition. Obviously, they have a good coach, but the main factor in all of this is how I get along with the players. I definitely intend to take a trip to North Carolina."


Be sure to check out IC's Tyler Hansbrough profile.

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