Tyler Hansbrough Talks UNC March Madness Memories, Roy Williams, More in B/R AMA

Adam WellsApril 3, 2021

DETROIT - APRIL 06:  (L-R) Head coach Roy Williams and Tyler Hansbrough #50 of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrate after they won 89-72 against the Michigan State Spartans during the 2009 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship game at Ford Field on April 6, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

On the day that the men's Final Four tips off from Indianapolis, North Carolina Tar Heels legend Tyler Hansbrough reflected on his historic college career. 

During his four years with the Tar Heels from 2005 to 2009, Hansbrough was a three-time first-team All-American, the consensus National Player of the Year as a junior and capped off his college career with a victory over Michigan State in the 2009 national title game. 

Hansbrough stopped by B/R for an AMA session to answer questions on a variety of topics, including his run at North Carolina, playing for Roy Williams and much more. 

The following is the full transcript from the AMA session.


@Steve_Perrault: What is your favorite March Madness moment that you were a part of?

It’s gotta be winning the ’09 championship in Detroit my senior year against Michigan State. To end my college career with that was great. I felt like I was under a lot of pressure that year so it meant a lot. I had gotten hurt at the beginning of the year and I had just turned the NBA down, so it felt like the worst possible thing at the time with the injury. I had to miss some games and preparation so I felt a lot of pressure in my mind since I had just turned down a great opportunity. But we had a very talented team.


@D0ugBr0wn: What was your first reaction to the news that Roy Williams retired?

I thought this was an April Fools joke. I got a phone call from a friend in the program and he's close with Coach Williams. There’s nobody I can think of that has invested more in the program than this man Eric Hoots who works for the basketball program and he hit me up and he was very emotional. From my perspective as a player I didn't really process it because he’s meant so much to me in my life and I wasn’t ready to process him leaving. I hung up and was like ‘it’s got to be April Fools’ joke’ so I called him back to be sure. Coach Williams meant a lot to me in the program. There wasn’t one moment where he didn’t give it everything he had and coached to the best of his ability. It was tough for me to see him go. He’s made being around the UNC program for former players so easy. It was a little sad seeing what he said in his press conference because to me, Coach Williams will always be the right person for that job.


@stlcardinals519: Who’s your all-time starting 5 of UNC players?

Man that's tough. Phil Ford, to me one of the all-time greats who set the foundation for the current program. Michael Jordan. Antawn Jameson. Myself. And either Ty Lawson or James Worthy. Let’s go with James Worthy.


@brandonpate3: What did it feel like when you got your jersey hung in the rafters in Dean Smith Center?

That was a great moment for me. I knew I met the criteria after I was done, it was a big moment for me and my teammates, to be up there with so many players I looked up to. To be in that category was unbelievable, I'm still humbled.


@RuFromTheU: Did you embrace being a hated player?

There's a couple different aspects. Talking a little junk was fun during the games but it always fueled me. But also you have the other piece that takes it to the outside life, that kind of made me a quiet person because I didn’t know what they thought of me. When someone says something to me, my mentality is to go back at them and prove a point.


Top interaction with MJ?

I think it was my senior year he was at Top of the Hill, a nice restaurant in Chapel Hill. There were a ton of people around, they had security. I dropped by and said “You can't come in my spot like this, no one cares about me now!” When I signed with the Hornets him welcoming me to the team and seeing his mentality from a business aspect was cool too.


@Dana_Grey: Break down the SleepHawk Worldwide podcast, what’s it all about?

It’s a podcast with a college body and a golf buddy of mine. They call me Hawk and I call him Sleep. He’s a journalism major and I kind of like to talk about the UNC games. It was something to do and now it’s gotten some wheels and taken off. We just did the latest episode covering Roy’s retirement. We cover March Madness even though we haven’t gotten one pick yet right this year! We talk TV shows, even the Bachelor! It’s not just UNC based, we listen to our audience.


@Nostrand_Liquors: Where did the name Psycho T come from?

I get asked that a lot. It was UNC’s strength coach. I used to put in a lot of work with him and my freshman year I was a very shy kid but I used to get really into these workouts and start yelling and screaming. He’s like man you’re psycho and so he started calling me Psycho T. 


@ChaseMoretz: If someone had a tough decision between schools and UNC was one of them and you had to describe your UNC experience in one word what would it be?



@goatfernandes: How did it feel to get elbowed in the face by Gerald Henderson?

For me I was shooting a free throw and got my rebound. I go up and then all of the sudden I'm on the floor in a pool of blood. I got and went after Demarcus Nelson and I was getting held back. And i was trying to get to him and lay him out but he wasn't the one who hit me. When i was going off the court i was so upset because it was a cheap shot. He admitted on a podcast later it was a cheap shot, I don't know how you justify that. Emotions can get the best of you. I’ve been in this situation before. One day maybe I will get Gerald back in a pick up game. In the NBA I always wanted to get him back. I still have this voice inside me ‘You need to get his ass back’


@AJb3ller: Do you have a favorite memory as a Pacer?

Playing with my brother Ben was a big moment for me. Coming from a small town with no nba players so for both of us to be representing Poplar Bluff, Missouri. But also when we made it to the ECQF in game 7 against the Heat against LeBron. I’ve had a lot of good memories with the Pacers.


@ripcity3: What was your favorite ACC arena to visit?

Duke, we won every time we played there. It meets the expectations. You talk about Kansas and Duke are the two toughest to play at. They would chirp me at Cameron for sure. They used to have this guy dressed up in underwear who would wear a speedo during free throws. The student section would always give us crap for stretching.


@avery13: What made you pick the Tar Heels over everyone else?

Coach Williams, when he started recruiting me i felt like he recruited me harder. I felt like UNC was the best place. It was the best decision of my life, becoming a part of this family.


@JoeyBiceps: What was going through your head before you dunked on Kenny George?

Kenny was killing us and blocking everything so I was pissed off. The best way to counteract a great shot blocker is to go right at him.


@DekeGeek: What’s your advice to young ballers?

In basketball or in life is to earn everything. Don't expect anyone to give you anything. Have a great work ethic and prepare to be great. When I was growing up, you worked harder and earned those achievements. Show respect, be on time and don't expect anyone to give you anything.


Rapid Fire Questions:

Favorite movie ever?

I really like Braveheart and Hook. Love Robin Williams.


Favorite sneakers?

The Jordan 1s. The mids. Obviously I like the Carolina blue ones. Jordan 11s as well. I was never a big sneakerhead until i left school which makes me mad because i had the access and now is when I care about them.


What has been your favorite moment from this NCAA tourney?

The unpredictability. Gonzaga has been a sure lock. Baylor’s been great too, but we’ve seen a lot of upsets and the unknown is something I really like. Also I like seeing how the coaches prepare the teams because this is such an unusual year.


Hansbrough had a seven-year stint in the NBA after leaving North Carolina. He was the No. 13 overall pick by the Indiana Pacers in the 2009 draft and spent four years with the organization. He also played with the Toronto Raptors and Charlotte Hornets. 

After a brief stint in the NBA Developmental League, Hansbrough spent four seasons playing in the Chinese Basketball Association. He also got to serve as a color commentator  for North Carolina's Feb. 18 game against Northeastern on the ACC Network.