Williams takes aim at Hansbrough's critics
Posted June 23, 2009
Updated June 24, 2009
Roy Williams has heard enough criticism of Tyler Hansbrough's game.
"It's funny," Williams said Tuesday. "It's demeaning, it's ridiculous. It's all those emotions."
Over the course of his four years at North Carolina, Hansbrough's style of play drew more than a few unfavorable comparisons. And Williams has heard them all.
"Like a bull in a china shop, he looked uncoordinated or he looked spastic, however you wanted to color it." he said. "But it's hard to look like a great athlete with two guys hanging on you and the referee pinching you on the arm."
Williams may feel more than a bit vindicated by Hansbrough's performance at pre-draft camps. Hansbrough's performance in athletic skills tests have been surprisingly good.
Williams even says a "reliable source" told him Hansbrough's vertical leap measured higher than that of former Duke standout Gerald Henderson.
Did anyone see that coming?
"I tell everybody all the time he's a better athlete than you give him credit for," said Williams. "And he goes to the pre-draft camp and what's the big news out of the pre-draft camp? He's a better athlete than we thought."
Hansbrough has impressed enough scouts to vault his draft status into the coveted "lottery pick" range, a far cry from the earlier late-first-round projections. In fact, Hansbrough's stock is high enough now that the NBA saw fit to invite him to the draft day "green room," an honor reserved only for players expected to be drafted early.
And on a night with as many as four of his former players could be drafted -- three in the first round -- Williams has decided to sit next to ... Tyler Hansbrough.
"People said he can't do this or he can't do that," said Williams of Hansbrough's detractors. "The only thing I know is that his team won a heck of a lot of games, he won every kind of award there is, he's the leading scorer and the leading rebounder in North Carolina history and we're pretty good." he said.
And Williams has one parting shot for the critics: "He's only going to play in the NBA for 10-12 years."
Not a bad first job for a recent college grad, wouldn't you say?