From Seth Davis of all people who pretty much annoys us most of the time but gets this one right. Davis tells of an interesting parallel between Phil Ford and Tyler Hansbrough. Both could have gone pro after their junior season but opted to return. In Ford's case Dean advised him to leave but Ford was not interested. We all know the story with Hansbrough. Here are two key passages.
More than anything, though, Tyler Hansbrough deserves this record because he came back to school. This is not to disparage players like Michael Jordan, Antawn Jamison and Rashad McCants who might have had a shot at Ford's mark had they stayed. But at a place like North Carolina, which embodies team play, the scoring record should belong to a four-year player. Hansbrough would probably not have been a top-five draft pick had he left, but it's unlikely he will signifcantly improve his draft status by playing another year. Also, at the time Hansbrough made his decision he was assuming that at least one of his fellow undergraduates, and as many as three of them, would be turning pro, diminishing the Tar Heels' chances of winning a championship. Hansbrough came back anyway, and for all the right reasons.
If the circumstances were different than they were in 1978, the central tenets of the Carolina Way have endured, from Rosenbluth to Ford to Hansbrough. While offering his congratulations to Hansbrough, Ford is quick to add that the career scoring record is the least important mark at North Carolina. "We never cared who scored the ball," he says, "as long as someone with the Carolina jersey got the ball in the basket." Tyler Hansbrough would be the first to agree, even as he jostles and bangs his way towards history.
We have said over and over Hansbrough is a once in a generation player and that has much to do with his individual accomplishment as him playing in the Carolina Way.