Commentary

Hansbrough will thrive in NBA

Updated: June 17, 2009, 6:12 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

One of the interesting storylines going into the NBA draft involves North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough. On June 25, the question will be posed: Can he play at the next level?

The critics will point out that he doesn't have the quickness for the 24-second clock. Naysayers will claim Hansbrough will have a tough time getting his shot off in the lane against the talented, agile performers at the NBA level.

I'm telling you, Hansbrough is going to be a solid 10-year player at the next level. He will not be a superstar, but he will be a reliable contributor night in and night out.

He will get 12-14 points and 7-8 rebounds every game coming off of the bench. He has a nose for the ball, a toughness and desire to succeed on the court. Hansbrough is a special player with great touch and an incredible work ethic. While in Chapel Hill, he always showed his burning desire to get better and better.

I know the critics will scream that Duke's J.J. Redick was also a special player while on the ACC hardwood. Yes, Redick was one of the great scorers in the conference, passed by Hansbrough this season. My friends, while people say Redick has struggled in the NBA, when it is all said and done the former Blue Devil will be a solid NBA player. He showed flashes of brilliance this year and he improved in every facet of the game. Redick has been better in his defense, his passing, his moves to the goal off of the bounce. We always knew about his shooting ability; it was a matter of regaining confidence, gaining more minutes to become more consistent.

With more time, he will be able to play in the NBA. Whether he is in Orlando or elsewhere, mark it down & J.J. Redick can perform at this level.

Hansbrough will surprise many people. Where do I think he will go in this draft? My feeling is somewhere around slots 14-17. If he goes lower than that, it will be a steal for someone.

Just look at his resume and you have to be impressed. He was the ACC's all-time leading scorer. He made first-team All-ACC four straight seasons. He made more free throws than any player in Division I college basketball history. He scored 20 or more points 78 times as a Tar Heel & now that is consistency!

Nobody in North Carolina's storied basketball history has more rebounds. He uses his body so well to draw contact to get to the foul line. I love his intensity and I believe it will translate in the pros.

He is a winner who will be a great teammate. Everyone down at North Carolina can tell you about his winner's mentality and his work ethic is contagious, making everybody on the squad better. Hansbrough is the type of player you want on your roster and in your rotation.

Tyler Hansbrough will be a 10-year pro and eventually a multi-millionaire.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.