Published February 10, 2010
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Tyler Hansbrough nearly did it all during four years at North Carolina. Then came the capper: Having his jersey No. 50 raised to the Smith Center's rafters.
North Carolina retired Hansbrough's number on Wednesday night, honoring the leading scorer and rebounder in the history of one of college basketball's winningest programs.
Hansbrough was presented with a framed jersey during a 10-minute ceremony at halftime of the Tar Heels' game against rival Duke, which marked the Indiana Pacers forward's first visit to Chapel Hill for a game since his career ended last spring.
"It's still hard for me to sit back and think about it, all the great memories and things like that," Hansbrough said. "But when I walk in the gym and see my 50 in the front row, with all those other guys, it kind of sinks in."
It was fitting that the celebration took place with the Blue Devils in the house. Hansbrough was 6-2 in his career against Carolina's bitter rival, and has a special place in Tar Heel lore thanks to a 4-0 record at Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The banner hangs behind one baseline and next to Antawn Jamison's No. 33 in the arena's distinguished front row of jerseys. It was illuminated by a spotlight during the ceremony.
"I guess that's my signature, my stamp," Hansbrough said.
Hansbrough is the eighth Tar Heel to have his number retired, and has known this day was coming ever since his junior season in 2007-08 when he won the AP national player of the year award. The following year, he led North Carolina to its fifth NCAA tournament title.
The four-time all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection finished his career with a league-record 2,872 points and a school-record 1,219 rebounds to go with the NCAA record of 982 made free throws.
Coach Roy Williams, who briefly addressed the crowd before heading to the Tar Heels' locker room, called Hansbrough "one of the most focused, most driven young men I've ever known in my life.
"Roy Williams was a better coach because of this young man," Williams said.