NPOY Awards Keep Rolling In

SAN ANTONIO – Tyler Hansbrough arrived in Texas for the Final Four with just one trophy in mind, but while those dreams ended abruptly on Saturday night, the junior forward cemented his Tar Heel legacy by sweeping all four national player of the year awards given out over the weekend.

Hansbrough picked up the Naismith Trophy and the State Farm/National Association of Basketball Coaches' Player of the Year award at the NABC Guardians of the Game Awards Show on Sunday night at the Lila Cockrell Theatre. He had already picked up the AP and U.S. Basketball Writers Association's player of the year honors on Friday morning.

"I feel very honored, once again," Hansbrough said during his Naismith Player of the Year press conference. "I feel like I had a good year overall, but I just feel like I've been surrounded with a great situation with the teammates that I have [and] the coaches."

Hansbrough averaged 22.6 points and 10.2 rebounds in leading the Tar Heels to a 36-3 record, ACC regular-season and tournament championships and NCAA East Regional title. He had 17 points and nine rebounds in Carolina's season-ending loss to Kansas.

"He's very deserving of all of these awards," head coach Roy Williams said. "They couldn't go to not only a better basketball player, but a better kid, and that's something that I really have a great thrill with."

But despite being honored as college basketball's top player, there was a definite melancholy aura surrounding the three-time All American.

"It's hard – I feel kind of up-and-down overall," said Hansbrough, who plans to put his trophies in North Carolina's basketball museum for fans to enjoy. "I'm disappointed because I think the team's success is also first in my mind. It's difficult coming off a loss and coming to get an award, but also I feel honored. I took the loss really hard, because I felt that we were playing good and we just didn't play well last night, but things happen."

The Tar Heel locker room was thick with sadness and finality on Saturday evening, and it was obvious 24 hours later that it will take a significant amount of time for that loss to work its way out of Hansbrough's system.

"Today's been difficult, there's no question," Williams said. "He probably would have liked to have gone back with his teammates this morning, but staying here and with him, the way he is, it's a little embarrassing to be getting this with the team not being successful last night. But that's the reason everybody loves him so much, too."

With a multitude of awards and North Carolina's season at an end, there will be plenty of speculation and interest surrounding Hansbrough's decision as to whether he will move on to the NBA or return for his senior season in Chapel Hill.

But he refuses to fuel that rumor mill, only saying, "I haven't thought about that right now – not at all."

Williams indicated that now that the season is over, he will begin the process of touching base with his NBA contacts, while meeting with Hansbrough and any of his teammates that have interest in jumping to the professional ranks.

"I'll sit down with all of them this week and have some discussions with them and possibly their families, as well, and try to make some decisions as what the next step is," Williams said. "There's not going to be any final decisions, I wouldn't think, for three or four weeks."

Hansbrough has won the following National Player of the Year awards: Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, Commonwealth Club of Kentucky (Rupp Award), Basketball Times, ESPN.com, CBS/Chevrolet, the United States Basketball Writers Association of America, the Associated Press, the NABC and the Naismith Trophy.

Next up is The Wooden Award, which will be announced on April 11 by the Los Angeles Athletic Club.


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