North Carolina Junior Tyler Hansbrough finally received the respect he deserves.
Tuesday morning Hansbrough was named college basketball's Player of the Year by Sporting News.
This came after a phenomenal season for the three-year starter. He averaged 23.1 points and 10.5 rebounds per game this season, tops in both statistical categories.
Hansbrough also led the Tar Heels to an amazing 29-2 record (14-2 ACC), a No. 1 national ranking, and an expected No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Underappreciated and underrated before, this season Hansbrough has done away with all doubt as to where he stands among college basketball's elite.
He has also established his place among the all time greats at North Carolina: Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace, Antawn Jamison, and Vince Carter.
Coach Roy Williams said of Hansbrough, “There will never be another one just like him.”
Tuesday, the school announced that it would retire his No. 50 jersey, becoming only the eighth player in Tar Heel history to achieve that honor.
"It truly is something special to have accomplished," Hansbrough said. "In fact, it's kind of hard to sit here and talk about how it feels to be put in the same category as the players who are up there already."
All this, and he still likely has another season left in his college career. It has been amazing to see this young man develop since arriving at Chapel Hill.
Without a doubt Hansbrough has been a tremendous competitor. He has pushed through aches and pains, and perhaps has taken more spills and elbows to the face than any player over the past two seasons, yet he keeps playing.
His form is not pretty. He does not always shoot with style. But in the end, he puts the ball in the basket and gets the job done.
Hansbrough will not be the flashiest player in the ACC and NCAA tournaments. But he will leave no doubt as to which player has the most heart and determination to win.