Tyler Hansbrough through his mother's eyes

April 3, 2009 8:17:33 AM PDT
This season star foraward Tyler Hansbrough has had some extra moral support. Tami Hansbrough moved to the Triangle to take a job as associate director of development at UNC's school of dentistry.

Her son has set dozens of records and won countless trophies during his four years in Chapel Hill. Now, as he goes for a national championship, his mom sat down with ABC11's Angela Hampton to talk about her son's talent and the work ethic he learned at an early age.

"He knew that going out in the back yard and shooting 200 free throws before school was going to help him in that game situation," Tami said. "He was always about preparation."

Tami said Tyler was focused at the early age of four.

"He still looks the same to me, just bigger," said Tami, as she looks at a picture of young Tyler.

According to Tami, Tyler was always athletic. He walked at nine months, rode a bike at the age of four and played hard with his brothers.

Tyler's passion became basketball, but as he grew, Tami said he had unique challenges.

"He sat down at the kitchen table and said, 'You know, I just don't fit in anywhere.' And I said, 'Well what do you mean? He said, 'I'm too big, I don't fit under my desk at school.' He said, 'My knees don't fit under the cafeteria [table].' He said, 'My shoes -- I can't find them in the store, we have to special order them.' I said, 'You know what Tyler, some day that stuff is going to come into your favor.'"

Tyler's parents are divorced, but she says the boys have always been close. They formed a special bond when big brother Greg had a brain tumor removed at age eight.

Tyler and brother Ben watched Greg relearn how to do almost everything.

"So, Tyler was old enough that he saw the challenges and saw Greg struggle and overcome things that were so incredible for actually our whole family and that made an impact on him," Tami explained.

Tyler acknowledged that on Senior Day when his whole family attended his last game at the Dean Dome. He got emotional when he thanked his mom.

"She's always been there for me, and been someone I could talk to," Tyler said at Senior Day. "I really appreciate it."

As Tami looked on, she mouthed, "I love you," to Tyler and waved. She said she's so proud of her son and the whole Tar Heel team. Win or lose this weekend -- she'll always treasure he son's time at UNC.

"We've enjoyed every second of it and no regrets and so thrilled he came back, and it's just been an incredible journey," Tami said.

She said she's glad Tyler played his senior year, but also said he's ready for the NBA. She thinks he will do well because he's proven himself and his work ethic is impeccable.

Tami will head to Detroit for the Final Four game.

As a mom, Tami admits she's not a big fan of Tyler's nickname, Psycho T, but she tries to laugh about it.


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