By Steve Czaban Special to Published Apr 02, 2008 at 12:07 AM

Tyler Hansbrough is God.

Go ahead, ask anybody.

You may think he's merely an excellent college basketball player: a first team All-American, a 20-point, 10-rebound machine for the Final Four-bound Tar Heels.

Oh, how wrong you are.

Don't you know how "special" he is as a player? Why, it's likely we will not see another white player average 20 and 10 in college like Tyler The Terrific in decades.

You don't believe me? I can tell. Just listen to his coach, Roy Williams.

"The young man is the most driven, the most focused youngster I've ever seen to try to be the best player he can be and to help his team win."

OK, I'm fine with this comment. Sure, it could be a little bit over the top. Roy has seen many, many, many fine "youngsters" who have worked hard in their college careers. It's possible that St. Tyler is the "most" driven of them. I'll take him at his word.

It's the next sentence that sets off the cynicism alarm at full blast.

More Roy: "Last week, we had an off day and he was in the gym for two and a half hours. But, that's Tyler Hansbrough. That's what he is."

Ahhh. indeed. That's just Tyler being Tyler.

As if he's the first guy ever to spend an off day in the gym, working out, lifting weights, shooting jumpers.

Why didn't Roy make the story even sexier. Like: "Tyler broke through three locked doors, and put a guard in a sleeper hold so he could get in an extra hour of shooting at the gym, which was closed, by the way. He also had to escape the team hotel, by climbing down four stories holding onto nothing but tied up bed sheets."

"But that's Tyler Hansbrough. That's what he is."

Rick Pitino could not contain his gushing after losing to Tyler Terrific in the Elite 8. Said white-suit Ricky, "It's the first time I've seen him up close, and some pro team is going to be very lucky."

And by that, I hope it's not Andrew Bogut "lucky."

Some team that gets Michael Beasley is going to get very lucky. The team that gets Hansbrough is going to have to settle.

It's not a crime if Tyler isn't the Vanilla Stoudamire when he starts getting paid to play. It's just that the hype on this kid is so far ahead of common sense, I fear he's in for a rude adjustment at the next level, where, it turns out, everybody takes extra hours in the gym working on his game.

Last year, Greg Oden was a dominant force for Ohio State, driving the Buckeyes to within 40 minutes of the national title. I bet he worked hard to be so good. I bet he's had a bloody nose or two along the way going for a rebound.

But did anybody ever wax poetic and declare: "But that's Greg Oden. That's what he is."


The media often overlooks how hard talented players work. We like to think pure talent lets guys coast if they want.

And Tyler "Durden Has Nothing On Me" Hansbrough is talented in his own right. He has a quick post-spin, a soft touch on mid-range jumpers and short lay-ins, and a great knack for tipping rebounds to himself over the outstretched arms of other players.

But can we just stop for a minute making the guy out to be superhuman?

In basketball, where almost 90 percent of the NBA is black, white players are always going to be cast in a "gritty, gusty, underdog" light. That's fine. By the pure numbers, they are underdogs.

We don't have to go overboard, however, just because one of them is a relentless worker -- even overachiever -- who plays for a national powerhouse.

I want to be a Tyler Hansbrough fan myself, it's just that it can be somewhat hard when every talking head on TV is saying the kid is in the same class as Magic, Jordan and Bird.

Ooops. My bad. It wasn't somebody like Dick Vitale who said that. It was Pitino again.

I wish I could say I was exaggerating about that, but I'm not.

Watch out if North Carolina wins the Championship Monday night, especially if Tyler scores 20 in a game, or dives for a loose ball. We all might get Tuesday off, to celebrate "Tyler Hansbrough Appreciation Day."

But then again, "that's Tyler Hansbrough. That's what he is."

Amen to that.

Steve Czaban Special to

Steve is a native Washingtonian and has worked in sports talk radio for the last 11 years. He worked at WTEM in 1993 anchoring Team Tickers before he took a full time job with national radio network One-on-One Sports.

A graduate of UC Santa Barbara, Steve has worked for WFNZ in Charlotte where his afternoon show was named "Best Radio Show." Steve continues to serve as a sports personality for WLZR in Milwaukee and does fill-in hosting for Fox Sports Radio.