Hansbrough Big East Player of the Year? Abromaitis in NBA Mock Drafts?


Ben Hansbrough

It seems like the #7 Fighting Irish might be the least hyped top ten team of all time. Of course, when you pay attention to some Mike Brey quotes and NBA Draftniks’ work, perhaps that’s changing.

Ben Hansbrough for Big East player of the year? His name certainly has to be in the discussion, but obviously the favorite UConn’s Kemba Walker, and you’d have to place Pittburgh’s Ashton Gibbs and Brad Wanamaker well ahead of Hansbrough.

What about national college basketball player of the year, an award his brother won two seasons ago? (Yeah, we don’t think so either, but) Notre Dame coach Mike Brey started the drums beating for his team’s emotional leader after Hansbrough scored 25 points despite a tough start to lead No. 9 Notre Dame to a 76-69 win over Rutgers on Sunday at Purcell Pavilion.

“When you step back a bit, look at this, and get away from the preseason hype machine, certainly he is a Big East player of the year candidate as well as national player of the year,” Brey said.

“Flat out. I mean, we are in the Top Ten and he has driven us into that position and we are in the hunt for the league title. It is starting to be really evaluated. Some people say ‘Let’s see what he does next game.’ Well, he did it again.”

Right now, the national player of the year discussion starts with BYU’s Jimmer Fredette, who is to this season what Kevin Pittsnogle was to 2005- a great player with a funny name that inspires legions of followers. Their names are even converted to verbs now.

“You’ve been Pittsnogled. or Jimmered.”

After him, the candidates are Texas Jordan Hamilton, the Morris twins of Kansas, Ohio State Jared Sullinger and again Kemba Walker.

Yesterday, Hansbrough and the Irish (19-4, 8-3) reclaimed sole possession of second place in the Big East behind No. 4 Pittsburgh and will host No. 15 Louisville on Wednesday. Scott Martin had 14 points for Notre Dame and Tim Abromaitis added 10.

Notre Dame pulled away from a 7-7 tie with a 17-6 run that included five straight points and a nice assist by Hansbrough. The Irish stretched the lead to 25-15 before a 3-pointer by the Scarlet Knights’ James Beatty started a 7-0 run and got Rutgers within 25-22. Notre Dame led 37-33 at halftime with Hansbrough scoring 10 points. The teams battled evenly in the second half before two free throws by Martin started an 8-2 run that made it 51-43 with12:36 to play.

And Tim Abromaitis in NBA Mock Drafts? Yes, really. He’s #54 overall, in the second round at NBA Draft Empire, and was recently listed in a mock at NBA Draft.net as well.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net. He doesn’t have a real nickname, but he is also a regular contributor to the Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

He does a weekly radio segment on Chicagoland Sports Radio.com and Cleveland.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

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