Tyler Hansbrough Q&A

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Tyler Hansbrough is just nine points shy of breaking Phil Ford's 30-year-old school scoring record, and the senior forward spoke to reporters on Wednesday about breaking that mark.

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You seem to prefer talking about team stuff, yet the focus here is on you and this record. Will you be glad to move past this?

"It seems like everybody wants to talk about the scoring record, which is a pretty good accomplishment, but once it is over I'll be glad to focus on some other things. It's hard to stay away from this because I do think it's a big accomplishment and I realize all the great Carolina players and for me to be up there is really special to me."

Bobby [Frasor] said that he thought if someone hadn't told you about the record, you wouldn't know about it ...

"I knew I was pretty close before the season started, but I never really kept track of where I was. I came in before the other game and someone mentioned I was only 35 points away or something, so that's when I first realized I was pretty close."

2,290 points is a lot of points, but Lennie Rosenbluth still holds the record for career scoring average at Carolina with 26.9 (1954-57). Can you imagine that ever being broken here?

"No, I don't think so ... I don't think there will be many people touching that, just because when you come to Carolina you're surrounded by so many good players that it'd be hard for one person to put up that many points day in and day out."

How much do you know about Phil Ford?

"To be honest, I haven't watched much. I never really watched him when ... I'm not really sure ... it probably wasn't available. ... You know how good he is when you see his jersey up there and it's retired - I know that's special right there. Everybody talks about him, even Coach Williams, and we've heard the stories and know what type of player he was."

What does it mean to you to know that he'll be here for the game?

"I didn't even know he was going to be here. It'll be special. I feel that says something about Carolina as a whole. I know Phil a little bit, but not that well, but when you're a part of something like that, you feel he's your brother even though you don't know him that well."

You'd already accomplished so much - what prompted you to come back for your senior year and give yourself this opportunity?

"First of all, I really enjoy college. Like I told everybody when I came back, my decision was based on how I felt at school and I enjoyed myself. But basketball-wise, I still felt that there was a lot ... national championship, we don't really like to talk about it, but it'd be nice to have one of those. And I had so much fun last season winning and being around the team that I wanted to do it for another year."

In choosing to return, was becoming the all-time leading scorer something you took into consideration?

"I maybe thought about it a little bit. I knew I was close, but I never really based my decision around that. It was more about being a college student and playing on the team."

Your favorite two points you've scored?

"My favorite bucket was the three pointer at Duke my freshman year. That's the only one that really stands out for me."

If you could draw up the play to give you the record, what would it be?

"It'd be me hitting a three."

Will you have any idea when you're about to break the record tomorrow?

"I won't, but I'll probably know when it happens ... that's the right answer."

When you came here, you were a very good player but you were a different player than you are now. Could you talk about the evolution of your game?

"When I first got here, I think one thing was that I was nervous about shooting jumpshots. I played my role and played inside, but also I realized that I had to expand my game and I think I worked on that in the offseason and during the season especially. ... The more I worked on it, the more comfortable I felt with it -- I feel comfortable shooting a jumpshot in a game now versus my freshman year where I was nervous and wasn't really comfortable."

Do you have any plans to say anything to the crowd if the opportunity arises during the ceremony tomorrow night?

"I'll talk, but ... I'm not real big on giving a bunch of speeches. If it's necessary, I think I will."

Are you nervous at all about tomorrow?

"About the speech? A little bit. I might have to plan something. ... I'll be prepared and I'll handle it well."

It's going to be extra special to do this at home ...

"It is special because everybody around here - the fans and everybody - will get to see it and I'll have a lot of former players here and we'll all hang out after the game."

What have you come to appreciate and enjoy the most about this place after living here year-round for the last four years?

"The most enjoyable thing [is] going to school here ... One thing I like about the Dean Dome is you can come here any time when you're a player. I like being able to walk into the gym at 12 at night and get some shots up or come here whenever. And once you graduate I feel you can do the same thing and you're apart of something where you feel accepted like a family - no matter where you go you'll always have the connection with the people you played with or the people that played at Carolina."

How much pride do you take that other teams game plan for you and you still manage to get your points and win?

"First of all, I realize that when you play at Carolina you have a target on your back it seems like every game. Also, I know that in the offseason when I'm working and training hard, so I'm prepared for that."

Did you think you could leave this kind of mark when you left high school and came here?

"No, definitely not. Not when I first looked at Carolina. I remember when I first got the call in high school when they started recruiting me, I was kind of shocked. To be here and get this kind of mark, I'm really thrilled."

How frustrating was it for you to miss practices and games early on this season - and how much better do you feel now?

"Yeah, it's really frustrating. At times I felt like I could go and play in some games, but I didn't want to hurt myself any worse. Now my body is feeling a lot better. It's still adjusting to getting back into shape, but I think the more I play the better I'll get at that. Sitting on the bench taught me some things watching the team. And players stepped up - I thought Deon [Thompson] played well while I was gone ... and other guys got to step in and play and get their confidence up."

Are you okay now?

"Yeah, I think I'm getting better. The ankle continues to get better and looser and as long as my shin stays healthy I think I'll be good to go."

How long do you think it'll take to play yourself back into your normal condition, considering how much you've had to sit out?

"I don't think it'll be that much longer. The way I've been taking care of my body and doing all those things, I think maybe a week or so ... I'm gradually getting there with my conditioning and getting better into shape."

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