Sunday, March 04, 2007

Bleeding Carolina Blue

From Adam Lucas of
With the Smith Center's foundation shaking and referees huddling and the blood vessels on your temple popping and Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski meeting at midcourt and what had been a bit of a ho-hum finish exploding, Tyler Hansbrough said exactly what you thought he would say.

He was standing in the Smith Center training room with his father, trainer Marc Davis, a dentist, and sports information honcho Matt Bowers. The first move was to have him cough into a trash can, which send blood streaming. Finally, the blood stopped streaming from his nose. The front of his jersey, from the neck to the waist, was covered in bright red blood. Hansbrough's blood. And this is what he said:

"I want to go back out there. Like this."

Imagine if that had happened. Imagine if Hansbrough had walked back onto the Smith Center court with his jersey covered in blood, a plug in each nostril, and a menacing glare.
(Photo courtesy of

The above image is the result of a hard foul by Duke's Gerald Henderson in the closing seconds of UNC's 86-72 win over the Blue Devils on Sunday. Whether or not Henderson meant to injure Hansbrough, it looked like he was definitely trying to deliver a hard foul - you don't generally see people go after a blocked shot with their elbow/forearm. That wasn't the first time in the game that Hansbrough received a hard (if not cheap) shot to the face.

After the game, Coach K had the audacity to drop this quote, which Adam Lucas follows up nicely, with some sarcasm and cold, hard facts:
"The game was over before (the foul)," Duke's Mike Krzyzewski said. "The outcome of the game, let's put it that way. It's unfortunate those people were in the game."

So the Blue Devils had given up. That's why, when Bobby Frasor toed the free throw line with 18.7 seconds remaining, Duke had Gerald Henderson, Josh McRoberts, DeMarcus Nelson, and Jon Scheyer still on the floor. Greg Paulus had just left after fouling out.
For the record, Henderson, McRoberts, Nelson, Scheyer, and Paulus played 167 of the game's 200 minutes (40 minutes times 5 players). Hansbrough was still in the game because, as opposed to Coach K's comments, Duke had not given up. They were still fouling and trying to make a comeback.

In case this hasn't been clear enough, yet, let me be completely transparent. Coach K - "those people" were in the game because of your decision to draw out a game that you readily admit "was over."

On a lighter note, you've got to love the camaraderie on the Tar Heels:
When Hansbrough eventually returned--just in time to enjoy the senior speeches by [Dewey] Burke, Wes Miller, and Reyshawn Terry--it was Frasor whom he asked, "Does my nose look normal?"

Hansbrough asked this while dried blood remained on his face and two plugs were sticking out of his nostrils like a walrus's tusks. Even the deadpan Frasor couldn't resist a small smile.

"Yeah, Tyler," he said. "You look really normal."

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