Former Indiana Pacer, North Carolina Tar Heel Tyler Hansbrough shares his lengthy profession
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – One of North Carolina’s greatest college players of all time and former 2009 first-round winner of the Indiana Pacers, Tyler Hansbrough recently started a podcast with Brandon Staten called SleepHawk.
“We cover a lot of different topics,” Hansbrough told AllPacers.com in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “We talk about everything from the bachelor’s TV show to UNC basketball to current affairs or whatever our fans want us to do.”
Hansbrough had one of the best college careers ever in North Carolina tar heel basketball history. During his senior season, he led them to the national championship just one season after winning the National Player of the Year award in his junior season. Overall, he had a career average of 20.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game during his four-year career at Chapel Hill.
“For me, I’ve met my best friends, enjoyed college, had a great, great time,” said Hansbrough, looking back. “I played for the best coach I could ever have in the coach [Roy] Williams. He taught me a lot about life. ”
Williams retired earlier this month after his legendary coaching career with Kansas and North Carolina. Hansbrough knew it had to happen at some point.
“We always knew it was on the horizon,” he said. “I was a little surprised because I thought the coach would go a few more years, but I’m happy for the coach. I think it was the right move for him and I fully support him, but I was a little surprised. “
After his legendary college career, Hansbrough was the 13th overall winner in the 2009 NBA Draft, hit by Larry Bird and the Indiana Pacers. After getting so deeply rooted in the Carolina blue, he knew the NBA was going to be a different experience.
“I couldn’t have been more excited to be drafted from Indiana,” he said.
Hansbrough played for the Pacers from 2009 to 2013, averaging 8.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in 246 games with the team.
“They were very good teams and I was very lucky to play for the Pacers,” he said. “When I played for Frank Vogel, of course I thought he helped me a lot as a player and gave me a chance.”
During his time in Indiana he was allowed to play with his brother Ben Hansbrough and he was also given the chance to play against LeBron James and the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.
The Pacers were just one game behind the 2013 NBA Finals.
“That was great,” he said. “Looking back, it’s a little frustrating to be so close, but I thought our teams were really good and I thought we might not have got the respect we deserved.”
After a few stints with the Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors, Hansbrough has played professionally in China over the past few seasons. He’d been out to the country for preseason games a few times when he was with the Hornets and Pacers.
He has been a big focus on their offense and believes his game has grown and he has regained his confidence. Last season, he averaged 32.3 points and 13.4 rebounds per game between 2019 and 20.
Having once suffered from COVID-19 (with no severe symptoms), he has had a hard time getting back to the league this season in China.
“I love China,” he said. “The cities are great. I also like the lifestyle a lot.”
Even at 35 and not in the NBA since 2015, Hansbrough believes he could still play at the NBA level and is not retiring from basketball even if it isn’t in the NBA this season or the next . He says he’s in shape and feels ready to play wherever that may be this season.
“I know I can,” he said of playing in the NBA. “How crazy it seems, I’ve always worked on my game, I feel like a much better player, I have more experience and I’m a better person so I definitely think I can still be effective at any level.”