I was sitting at a restaurant the other night enjoying a late dinner and drinks because, well, that's pretty much what you do when you're on the recruiting circuit. You watch basketball all day, grab bad food well after any dietician would recommend and trade stories with whoever happens to be at your table.
|Stephen Curry is an exciting player -- and he is ready for prime time. (Getty Images)|
Anyway, I was with a coach and we were talking hoops and the focus eventually turned towards Tyler Hansbrough. In the middle of the conversation, the coach -- who shall remain nameless because I see no need for North Carolina fans to plan an attack on him -- said "we need a new face of college basketball, somebody besides Tyler" because, as he put it, Hansbrough's game is "ugly" and nobody really loves watching him play (outside of Chapel Hill).
So that got me thinking about two things:
1. Is the coach correct?
2. Who could be that new face?
In regards to the first question, I actually see the coach's point, which is not to suggest I think Hansbrough is less than tremendous. He's the easy pick for Preseason National Player of the Year, destined to go down as one of the best in ACC history and if I had to start a college team tomorrow I'd take him with my first pick. Make no mistake, I like Psycho T (and let the record show I think he'll be a better pro than most expect).
But do people really gravitate to the television when he's on?
Is the average fan eager to watch Hansbrough pump-fake?
So in that respect the coach is right, which brings me to the second question -- the one about who could be the face of college basketball if Hansbrough is off the board. The past two seasons a freshman has filled the role, first Kevin Durant and then Michael Beasley. And while I do believe this freshman class will produce some entertaining prospects -- DeMar DeRozan, Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, etc. -- I do not believe any of them will average 26 points per game (like Durant and Beasley did) and develop into must-see TV (like Durant and Beasley did).
In other words, we need a veteran.