Hansbrough Preparing for Season

It has been about two months since Tyler Hansbrough committed to play basketball at North Carolina and the six-foot-nine senior from Poplar Bluff (MO) High has noticed that things have quieted down a bit. After going through a high profile recruitment, returning to a fairly normal way of life is just fine by Hansbrough, who is focusing on his senior year.

"I'm glad that I made the decision and things have been quiet. I've just been preparing for the season and lifting a lot of weights and trying to get bigger," Hansbrough said. "I've had a lot more time because I only have one school to talk to now and I don't have to worry about all of the other schools coming through wanting to talk with me."

As would be expected, Hansbrough has stayed in contact with the coaching staff though Roy Williams was busy during September with in-home visits. An occasional phone call with the staff is the extent of his involvement with the program right now.

He's followed recruiting some and knows that his future teammates Bobby Frasor, Marcus Ginyard, Danny Green and possible future teammate Andrew Bynum will be in Chapel Hill for "Late Night" festivities. He decided against a visit this weekend instead opting for a visit to Chapel Hill for a game during the season.

More than anything, Hansbrough is focused on winning another state title and helping his high school team through a rough schedule. Poplar Bluff opens the season on Thanksgiving Day with a matchup against Tasmin Mitchell's Denham Springs (La.) High squad. While Hansbrough is looking forward to his first ever head-to-head battle with Mitchell, there is a game against a certain seven-foot high school junior from Indianapolis that really has his attention.

On December 9th, he'll square off with Greg Oden on national television.

"I'm real excited for that game, I haven't played against him since the (Nike) Hoop Jamboree two years ago," said Hansbrough. "I'm going to show some versatility and I'm going to hold my own against him, I think. I'm at least going to try and do my best and play hard, I've never been on national TV – that's pretty cool.

As for which areas of his game have been receiving the most attention, the big man is working on diversifying his game.

"I think I need to work on my quickness on the defensive end, a lot. Also, my perimeter game and my outside shooting need work if I am going to step out and face the basket more."

Finally, after some worry that local fans could be upset with him for spurning Missouri to go to North Carolina, Hansbrough said that the local reaction has been much better than he hoped for. In fact, he's even noticing a new shade of blue around town.

"I've noticed a lot of people are wearing Carolina gear and that makes me really happy," said Hansbrough. "I'm actually kind of surprised that people have supported me so much but they're just happy for me too and they understand why I picked North Carolina and they realize that it will be a great place for me."

Inside Carolina Top Stories