LOS ANGELES – The University of North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough was named the winner of the 32nd annual John R. Wooden Award, as the college basketball player of the year, at this evening’s Wooden Award Gala hosted by The Los Angeles Athletic Club at the Los Angeles Downtown Sheraton Hotel. The 6-9 Hansbrough led his team to the 2008 Final Four last weekend. Hall of Fame coach and player Bill Sharman, a longtime friend of The Los Angeles Athletic Club, made the announcement and presented Hansbrough with the unique Wooden Award trophy whose design was inspired by Coach Wooden’s idea of the “total basketball player.”
Hansbrough, a junior from Poplar Bluff, Mo., is a two-time consensus All-American. He was named the most outstanding player at the NCAA East Regional after a 28-point, 13-rebound performance against Louisville. On the season, he averaged 22.6 points, and 10.6 rebounds, while shooting an impressive 54% fron the field and 80.6% from the free throw line. Known to Tarheel fans as “Psycho T,” Hansbrough was the 2008 Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the year in leading UNC to a school-record 36 wins and its 17th Final Four.
Balloting by more than 1,000 members of the media and college basketball experts was conducted through the weekend of the Elite Eight. Voters selected 10 players for the Wooden All-America team from the 24 student-athletes listed on the ballot, and ranked them from 1 to 10. Voters were asked to take into account performance during the regular season and postseason, as well as a player’s character and academic performance. All players on the ballot were certified as maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA at their current school, including the most recent semester.
Finishing after Hansbrough, who had 4,653 points, were Wooden All-Americans Michael Beasley of Kansas State (4,042), UCLA’s Kevin Love (3,021), Texas’ D.J. Augustin (2,266) and Stephen Curry of Davidson (1,936). Hansbrough, Beasley, Augustin and Curry attended tonight’s Gala. In addition to the Player of the Year Award, The Los Angeles Athletic Club also presented Tennessee Women’s Head Coach Pat Summitt with the John R. Wooden Award Legends of Coaching honor. Summitt’s Lady Vols won their eighth NCAA title last weekend. The Women’s Wooden Award was presented earlier in the evening to Candace Parker of Tennessee.
Hansbrough joins a distinguished group of Wooden Award winners, including Michael Jordan (North Carolina), Tim Duncan (Wake Forest) and Larry Bird (Indiana State). Hansbrough is the fourth Tarheel to win the Award, following Phil Ford, Jordan, and Antawn Jamison.