May 5, 2011
Tyler Hansbrough never got into high gear in his rookie season with the Indiana Pacers. An inner ear infection and postconcussive syndrome limited him to appearing in just 29 games.
His sophomore season was different. Hansbrough saw action in 70 regular season games, averaging 11 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, and was a key contributor in the Pacers' first round playoff series loss to the Bulls.
"It was amazing. It felt so good to get back on the court and start playing like I used to and quit thinking about things. We had a blast, we're such a young team, to get in the playoffs and get that experience was great for us," Hansbrough told Adam and Joe on 99.9 The Fan.
Indiana lost to Chicago in the first round of the postseason in just five games but lost their first two games in Chicago by a combined 10 points. But Hansbrough's performance in the regular season and against the Bulls reassured him that he has potential to do some big things.
"For me to end the season like I did gave me a lot of confidence and told me I can make a name for myself in the league."
One of the main aspects Hansbrough said he's worked on is his mid-range jump shot, a weapon he had working for him in Game 1 against Chicago.
The criticism that clinged to him before the 2009 NBA Draft was that he made his name off being a high energy and high intensity player, but didn't have the talent to needed to stack up against NBA power forwards.
"That's something I fought for four years in college. My mentality was, I'm not going to please everybody and I feel like there's going to be people out there always doubting me. I think there's people out there that doubt every great player," Hansbrough said.
"For those people out there that always had something to say I kind of laugh about it because I knew it was going to motivate me and force me in the right direction to do better."