Tyler Hansbrough grew up in Poplar Bluff, Missouri and is a current member of the Indiana Pacers. He attended Poplar Bluff High where he led the Mules to back-to-back state titles. As a senior, he averaged 28.2 points and 13.4 rebounds, and his Poplar Bluff team was matched up against Greg Oden and the Lawrence North Wildcats in a nationally televised game on ESPN.
Hansbrough choose to attend the University of North Carolina after the conclusion of his high school career. He made an immediate impact for the Tarheels, leading the team in scoring and being unanimously selected as the ACC Freshman of the Year. He also earned first team All-ACC honors, and tied an ACC freshman record when he scored 40 points in a home game against Georgia Tech.
His sophomore season was marked by the same intense consistency he became known for in his debut season. In a game against arch-rival Duke, he famously broke his nose on an intentional elbow by Duke’s Gerald Henderson, leading to a bloodied, enraged Hansbrough jumping up and attempting fight Henderson.
The 2007-08 season may have been the finest in Hansbrough illustrious collegiate career. He was named the Player of the Year by nearly every major publication, setting a slew of team and conference records in the process. The Tarheels failed to win a championship however, prompting Hansbrough to return for his senior year.
Tyler sat out early portions of the season with a stress fracture in his shin, but returned in time to become North Carolina’s career leading scorer. He also set an NCAA mark for most free-throw made in a career. The Tarheels entered the 2009 NCAA Tournament as the #1 seed in the South Regional. Hansbrough navigated the team through the difficult field, earning a second straight NCAA Final Four berth. North Carolina dispatched of Villanova in the first game, and then dismantled Michigan State in the finals by a score of 89-72.
He was selected by Larry Bird with the 13th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, and after missing the first four games of his career because of a lingering issue with the shin he injured in his senior season, Hansbrough made his Indiana debut in front of a home crowd at Conseco Fieldhouse. In just 13 minutes of action, he scored an impressive 13 points in his debut, immediately endearing himself to Indianapolis sports fans who follow the team.