When Dick Vitale basically declared during this weekend's Duke-North Carolina broadcast that Tyler Hansbrough displayed the most desire of any player he has seen in all the years he has been covering college basketball, for a moment -- a fleeting one -- I thought I was smoking crack again.
|A bloodied nose helped launch Tyler Hansbrough into immortal status. (US Presswire)|
Vitale's television career goes back to the late 1970s, which means he has likely seen such collegiate basketball brilliance as Larry Bird, Christian Laettner, Magic Johnson, Danny Manning, Patrick Ewing, Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas, Larry Johnson, Chris Mullin, Tim Duncan, Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson.
And Hansbrough has more "desire" than those greats?
Vitale is predisposed to hyperbole (I know: that's like saying water is predisposed to being wet) but not even he can believe that Hansbrough has more "desire" -- or another code word attached to Hansbrough by many in the media, "focus" -- than any of those greats. If Vitale does, he has been smoking crack.
This isn't to pick on Vitale. The theme when it comes to Hansbrough is that his game is somehow unique. Sports Illustrated put him on the cover and called him "maniacally focused." There's that 'F' word again. Aren't 99 percent of all players on that level maniacally focused?
"Hansbrough's credentials are impressive enough, but it's hard not to give him bonus points for squeezing out every bit of his potential, for never coasting ... " writes SI. The magazine later called Hansbrough "the face of college basketball."
Again, most college players don't coast. Why does Hansbrough get bonus points for simply accomplishing what everyone else does? Were Kevin Durant and Greg Oden coasters? Is Georgetown's Roy Hibbert a coaster? Name a coaster of a top player on Tennessee or Memphis or UCLA. You can't.
And I'm trying to remember the last time a black player was called the face of college basketball. Maybe it has occurred 500 times. I just can't remember.
Analysts for my network, CBS, portray Hansbrough as a crime-fighting special-forces soldier. He's Batman Hansbrough. The only thing missing during some broadcasts of his games is the waving of the American flag and the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.
Tyler Hansbrough: He pulls cats out of trees.
Tyler Hansbrough defeated the Houston Rockets.
Tyler Hansbrough doesn't do HGH. He is HGH.
Amy Winehouse is addicted to Tyler Hansbrough.
Brett Favre has a Tyler Hansbrough poster on his bedroom wall.
Tyler Hansbrough's toenail clippings are for sale on the Chinese black market.
Superman wears Tyler Hansbrough pajamas.
Chicago columnist Rick Morrissey called Hansbrough overexposed. Boy, I'll say. Morrissey's correct, but it's more than that.
America loves a tough white guy.