On the Brink of History

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – On Nov. 19, 2005, Tyler Hansbrough scored his first points in a North Carolina uniform against Gardner-Webb. On Thursday night against Evansville, the three-time All-American is expected to surpass Phil Ford for the most points scored in Tar Heel history.

2,282 career points. 743 two-point field goals. 781 free throws. Five three-pointers.

That's already a stunning stat line, but when Tyler Hansbrough adds nine points to it on Thursday night, the importance of those numbers change dramatically, as that will move him past Phil Ford ('78) as the frontrunner on the school's all-time scoring list.

"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," said Hansbrough, who has played in 113 career games. "It's hard to stay away from this, because I do think it's a big accomplishment. I realize all of the great Carolina players and for me to be up there is really special to me."

North Carolina plans to temporarily stop the contest against Evansville when Hansbrough surpasses the record, and Ford – now an assistant with the Charlotte Bobcats – will be in attendance. The senior forward told reporters on Wednesday afternoon that he hasn't watched much film on Ford and has only met him in passing, but the deep tradition that is Carolina basketball has forever linked these two individuals.

"I know Phil a little bit, but not that well," Hansbrough said. "But still, when you're part of something like that, you just feel like he's your brother, even though you really don't know him that well."

As usual, Hansbrough appeared as though he wanted to be somewhere else than sitting at the podium with more than a dozen media members peppering him with questions. There is no longer the intense nervousness that used to surround the Poplar Bluff, Mo. product when talking to reporters, but he didn't come to Chapel Hill for the attention – he came for the basketball.

And on Thursday, he'll further cement his legacy as a Tar Heel.

"He's probably awkwardly going to thank the crowd," roommate Bobby Frasor replied when asked what Hanbrough would do when he broke the record. "He doesn't really like the attention, so he's probably going to want to get the game [going]."

Frasor said that he would have never believed that Hansbrough would own as much award hardware as he does when they enrolled at North Carolina back in the summer of 2005. But that renowned work ethic and dedication has thrust Hansbrough into the spotlight, whether he likes it or not.

"He's such a consistent performer, night-in and night-out, day-in and day-out, practice or a game," head coach Roy Williams said earlier this week. "[He's] a youngster that's gotten better every year. He's taken a work ethic and taken it to a new level. I said before the season started when he made the decision that he was going to come back, that when he stops playing here, every one of the coaches and fans for North Carolina should step back and think how lucky we are."

Hansbrough is one of six Tar Heels that has scored over 2,000 points, joining Ford, Sam Perkins (2,145), Lennie Rosenbluth (2,045), Al Wood (2,015) and Charlie Scott (2,007). He has scored over 20 points a UNC-record 60 times and ranks eighth in NCAA history in free throws made.

Ask him what his favorite career basket is and he'll tell you that it's his three-pointer against Duke as a freshmen. Ask him how he would like to break the record on Thursday, and he'll tell you that he would to set the record with – you guessed it – a three-pointer.

Frasor drew laughter in the locker room following Saturday's win over Oral Roberts when he was asked about his longtime roommate finally breaking the record, and how he might possibly respond.

"He'll get some text messages or some phone calls, but most probably, he'll make himself a protein shake and go to bed just like he does every night," Frasor said.

That comment was brought up during Wednesday's press conference, and Hansbrough responded with an answer that fits the big man almost perfectly.

After a few moments, Hansbrough simply said, "He's joking."

No frills, no arrogance, no excess – just a basketball player with 2,282 points in his pocket and dozens of games left this season to add to his all-time scoring margin.

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