Why Tim Tebow and Tyler Hansbrough Are Smarter Than the Average Bear

Marisa ScolamieroAnalyst IJanuary 22, 2009

After Florida beat Oklahoma in the BCS championship, everyone wanted to know what offensive MVP Tim Tebow was going to do—go pro or finish out his college career.

Tim Tebow had an answer real quick. "I'm coming back. Let's do it again." Tebow and most of the defense will be returning next season for a shot at bringing home another BCS championship title.

Tebow seems like the kind of guy who thinks things out and looks beyond the moment at the big picture, much like UNC's Tyler Hansbrough.

Last April, after the NCAA championship was over, there were a lot of guys who had big impacts on the tournament declaring for the NBA draft. Kevin Love of UCLA and Derrick Rose of Memphis were two who went pro.

Tyler Hansbrough decided to return to UNC for his senior year to try and reach his goal of winning another National Championship. Oh yeah, and finish college, too.

Hansbrough had another stellar year for the Tarheels and was named the College Player of the Year. Yet he felt that he still had more to do at UNC and with his teammates Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington also returning, he knew he had just as good a chance to win a title.

Now, I'm sure there are people who think Tebow and Hansbrough were crazy for not going pro, especially after coming off of good seasons. I completely understand the appeal of going pro—there's the money, the chance to live out a dream, and win a championship at a higher level.

Sure, there are guys that don't even go to college and have amazing careers, like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Both are at the top of their game and that's all without the time to mature in a college program.

Michael Jordan left North Carolina early, and everyone knows His Airness went on to have one of the best careers in NBA history.

However, I think there is something to be said for guys like Hansbrough and Tebow, that are willing to put the pros on hold so that they can finish college and have another chance of obtaining NCAA glory.

When a young player leaves college early or never goes to college, there are always two big fears.

First, is that they sustain an injury that doesn't allow them to play, and when they are finally able to play, they aren't as good as they used to be. Second, their lack of experience forces them to sit on the bench in favor of the veteran player that knows what they're doing.

This isn't always the case, as I already mentioned. Kobe and LeBron both played from the start of their careers and have had huge impacts on their teams. Then there's guys like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, who were brought up to the majors at a young age. Neither went to college, and both have gone on to have amazing careers and are future Hall of Famers.  

Both Hansbrough and Tebow know that having another possible championship title under their belts, only makes their appeal to professional teams that much greater. Both players are instrumental to their teams' success and that is something that any prospective team is going to want in a guy.

Hansbrough leads with his tough playing style. Two years ago, he suffered a broken nose in a game against Duke. The play was considered to be flagrant, but rather than worry about that, all Hansbrough wanted to do was keep playing.

His coach had to tell him that he needed to deal with his injury, otherwise he would be no help to the team. He returned to action sooner than expected, with one of those face guards that look like a hockey mask in order to play to help his team.

Tebow inspires his teammates to play for something meaningful. He is known for writing Bible verses in his eye black on game day and has encouraged some of the other guys to do the same. He has told them that it's important to play for something more than just the game, that there has to be some greater purpose to what they do.

It is that kind of thinking that has helped Florida win two BCS championships in the past three years.

Maybe some guys who are on the fence about going pro or staying in college should take a lesson from Tyler Hansbrough and Tim Tebow. For them, it is about more than just themselves. They feel a sense of loyalty to their schools, their coaches, and teammates. Rather than rush to go pro, they are finishing what they started in college, and there is something to be said for that.