First I want to say that I am a University of Kentucky fan. I bleed blue. When I was a kid I would cry every time UK lost. I still have trouble saying out loud the name of a certain Duke player whose shot is shown over and over again every march. So I was really surprised to find that during the championship game I found myself pleased that North Carolina was winning. I was surprised at myself because I have a general dislike for all ACC teams in general and UNC and Duke in particular. Yet the reason was a person - Tyler Hansbrough. I found that I actually wanted him to get a ring. And it makes sense because he embodies everything that we want to see in college basketball.
He could have went pro after every season, he probably would have been a lottery pick as a freshmen but he kept coming back. We all bemoan the fact that college basketball has simply become a stepping stone to the NBA, and Hansbrough has now been an example to other kids that staying might be worth it. But it was also his style of play, he is certainly not the most talented player in basketball, maybe not on his own team but he played tough and hard. Fighting for every loose ball, he just wanted it more than everybody else, every loose rebound you could be certain that Hansbrough was after it. And even in that championship game he didn’t lead his team in scoring. He had another workmanlike game. He didn’t need the limelight, he didn’t need to own all the stats, he just wanted to win. And he was willing to do what it took to make that happen.
I think college basketball needs more Tyler Hansbroughs, but so does the church. We need more Christians to see the calling we have in the Bible and be willing to go hard after it. We need people who are willing to do the small things that don’t show up in the ecclesiastical stat sheet. We need Christians who are willing to do the unseen things that further the Gospel but don’t get trumpeted from the rooftops. We need Christians who are willing to make personal sacrifices for the Great Commission. College basketball needs more Tyler Hansbroughs, but the Church needs them even more.