Coach Pattillo on Tyler Hansbrough

John Pattillo, the high school basketball coach of blue chip recruit Tyler Hansbrough, appeared on the Kansas radio show Rock Chalk Sports Talk Wednesday afternoon. Pattillo sized up Tyler as a player, talked about the recruiting process, and gave some insight regarding a possible future decision.

RCST: "Let's start with Tyler as a player.  The folks at the Insiders Network have him ranked as the 2nd best player in his class in America.  Do you buy into that?  If so, why?"

Coach John Pattillo: "Well I do, and I think there's no doubt that most people who have seen him play really believe in not only his abilities, but every coach that has ever come through Poplar Bluff talks about how hard he plays.  He's a fierce competitor, he's got great hands for a kid who is 6'9", and you just don't see him losing the basketball.  On top of all that, he still a 6'9" 215 lbs. really good athlete."

RCST: "Is there a player that you could compare Hansbrough with?  Does he play like, say, a Nick Collison?"

JP: "You kinda hit the nail on the head.  That's definitely a guy we look to and put some similarities with in Nick.  The way he ran the floor, having great hands, and having a good post up game.  Tyler is very similar to that."

RCST: "When you look at his game as a whole, in what area does he have the most room for improvement?"

JP: "The greatest improvements he can make are with his perimeter skills.  As a big kid it sounds kind of crazy, but I told him at one point there was still a lot to do and learn.  He's one of those kids who takes that as a challenge, and he's worked very hard at making those kind of plays.  One thing he really hasn't had to be great at yet is passing.  He's a guy who sees the floor and knows what everybody else is doing, so I feel that's a skill you will see improve at the next  level."  

RCST: "We've had a chance to talk with Tyler in the past.  He seems like a laid back, reserved, down to earth kid from the Midwest.  Is that how you would describe him?"

JP: "Oh yeah, even though he's a very confident kid in what he does, he's a good and well rounded kid.  I don't think there's anyone who knows him who wouldn't tell you what a good all around student, player, person, and part of our community Tyler is.  He's just an ideal high school basketball player who gets the attention that he gets."

RCST: "How involved are you with helping Tyler make his college decision, and how much has he told you about the Kansas Jayhawks?"

JP: "I'm not overly involved.  Yet, anytime things need to come through me, I always give information to his family.  I've said from the outset of the recruitment, if you need me to step in and do something let me know.  If not, this is a family decision, and their family has done a good job of researching and traveling to different schools while sitting down and weighing all the options that are present.  I've been a little part of that, but that's been a much bigger issue for the family than for myself."

RCST: "Tyler visited KU back in the month of May.  What did he tell you when he got home from Lawrence, and what has he said since then about the Jayhawks?"

JP: "He had a great trip, and really enjoyed it.  I think he really likes Coach Self and his staff.  He enjoyed getting the chance to meet Danny Manning.  I know he believes the system is set up pretty well for him, and he feels he can excel there.  He's been excited before, anytime you go to the places he's gone to and taken visits, you’re going to come back excited.  You’re talking about the best college programs in the nation, and Kansas is definitely one of them."

RCST: "It sounds like he could make that decision sometime within the next month.  If that's the case, whom are you betting on?"

JP: "I wouldn't bet on anybody to be honest with you.  I don't say that just to not go out on a limb.  There's been too many times throughout the process that I'm thinking he's believing one thing and then he changes his mind.  Being a 17 year-old kid and weeding through the process is very difficult.  I think North Carolina is a big consideration.  They took a trip out there right after they went to Kansas.  Between Kentucky, Kansas, and North Carolina it seems like it's down to those three.  Yet, at times I still think every once in a while Missouri comes back into the picture."

RCST: "On the subject of the Tigers.  Is Tyler feeling some pressure from classmates and people within the community to head to Columbia.  What would the response be in Poplar Bluff if Tyler picked Kansas?"

JP: "To be honest with you, I think there would be some people from around here who would be upset.  We have a lot of Missouri alumni, and the rivalry that comes between these two teams is unexplainable.  I think all in all, the majority of the people in the state are going to look to what he does as him picking out the best situation for himself, his family, and the future.  Whatever he decides whether it be Kansas, Mizzou, North Carolina, or Kentucky, everybody knows that he's taking his time and he's going to make a really good decision.  I don't see it being a major issue, but there's always that tendency for people to be upset because of that rivalry.  That's just something you have to deal with."

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