By Chris Le
North Carolina forward and consensus player of the year, Tyler Hansbrough, announced that he will forgo the NBA draft and return for his senior season. Hansbrough averaged 22.6 points and 10.2 rebounds, leading the Tar Heels to a 36-2 record before losing to eventual national champion Kansas in the Final Four.
Hansbrough’s announcement comes after fellow teammates, speedy point guard Ty Lawson and sharp-shooting Wayne Ellington, declared for the draft but will not hire agents, making them eligible to return to school.
If all three return, UNC will be the prohibitive favorite to win the 2009 National Championship. But if it is only Hansbrough that comes back, they’ll still remain a top-5 team with their depth and another solid recruiting class.
Bottom line: Hansbrough wants a national championship. There’s no other explanation for his return. It’s not because he wants to improve his draft stock; in fact, I don’t think it could be any higher. I view him as being in the same boat as UCLA’s Kevin Love, where his height and athleticism–the only aspects of his game that pro GMs question–won’t (can’t) get better with one more year of college.
Nope. For Hansbrough, it’s about ridding himself of that bitter taste in his mouth after disappointing tournament exits by the hands of Georgetown and Kansas. Additionally, next year’s draft looks to have a lot less depth, possibly upping his chances of going in the lottery.