John Stevens is a featured columnist for RTC. His columns will appear on Tuesdays throughout the season.
Fine. If it has to be me, then it has to be me. I don’t mind, I’ll take the heat. I’ll be the one to bring up the subject that nobody else wants or has the stones to bring up.
I’m calling him out.
I don’t know what Tyler Hansbrough’s plans are for this Wednesday, but they had better involve showing up at Ford Field in Detroit at around 9pm. In uniform. Ankles taped. Ready to play, a self-proclaimed 100% healthy.
Or, they better involve not just a DNP, but a long-term hiatus from basketball.
Now, I know that, in college basketball circles, saying anything negative about Tyler Hansbrough is just the worst thing you can do. To know that he has an injury but still demand that he get out onto the floor and actually play basketball paints me as unfeeling, a heathen — possibly even a heretic, given the public perception of Hansbrough, his head coach Roy Williams, and the entire UNC basketball program which has gotten to the point to where the image surrounding all of them can only be described as, well…almost HOLY, for some reason. I might as well go tell a bunch of little kids that I hate puppies or a roomful of girls that I can’t stand weddings.
I don’t care. I’ll be the one to suggest that there’s an ugly truth behind the false beauty. I’m going to point at the emperor and call him naked. Someone has to say it, and I’m volunteering, because it’s best for college basketball – and for Tyler Hansbrough – that he and his handlers make a decision on his status once and for all.
I say “he” because that’s who the play-versus-sit decision evidently falls to before every game. Since the season began, we’ve heard that Hansbrough is the one who determines whether he’s well enough to go or not. We’ve heard nothing about team physicians or their opinions. We’ve seen Ol’ Roy (expectedly so, since it’s what you’re supposed to do) talk about how Tyler’s just rip-roarin’ to play and how they basically need to use chains to keep the guy on the bench…but the decision to play or not has still been Hansbrough’s. The only thing close to an exception has been their last game against UNC-Asheville where we were told that Hansbrough was “held out,” though it wasn’t specifically stated who did the holding.
That in mind, let’s look at Tyler’s season so far.