Monday, January 12, 2009

Tebow and Hansbrough: The Pro Shortcomings of a College Legend

It's hard not to draw the comparison between Tim Tebow and Tyler Hansbrough. Both are goofy half-redneck white boys, the motor of their respective teams, have piles of accolades, have loyal followings and outright haters.

They also have another thing in common: They're going to be very underwhelming professional athletes. Don't get me wrong, they'll both eventually go pro, and more than likely be drafted in a respectable but not spectacular position. Despite being dominant in the college ranks, both have obvious shortcomings that will hinder them at the next level.

Hansbrough, at 6'9" 250lbs, is big enough to bump around in the lane for rebounds and tough baskets in the college game. In the pros, however, players of that size that stay in his natural Power Forward position, such as Tim Thomas and Rasheed Wallace, have a much more developed outside game and lateral quickness and coordination, to make up for a lack of dominating power, that the clumsy hustle of Hansbrough can't match.

Tebow, on the other hand, has quite the opposite problem. Quarterbacks don't tend to be 6'3" 230lbs of neckless force in the NFL. Linebackers do. The experiment of Tim Tebow the pocket passer didn't work at Florida leading up to their only loss of the season, so why would it work in the NFL? The experiments of Vince Young and Tavaris Jackson show running quarterbacks are not the path to success in the league.

This isn't to say that these two players' inability to dominate at the next level diminishes their achievements in college. Hansbrough already has the career scoring record for UNC, a school with such prolific scoring players as Michael Jordan and Bob McAdoo, and is a NCAA poster-boy, staying in school four years after winning freshman of the year.

Tebow, with one Heisman on the shelf and the most 1st place votes in this year's crazy Heisman race, could easily finish his career with three championships, two (and a half) Heismans, 100 passing TD's and 60 rush TD's with less than 20 INT's, he could surpass Vince Young (if he already hasn't) as the most transcendent college QB of this era.

But that's where these legends will end. Like any of us that were great athletes in high school to be obsolete come college, or playground heroes as kids to find our names not on the freshman team roster, they can only achieve so high.

The difference, and some consolation?

At least their grandkids will believe their legends.

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