Chansky’s Notebook: Heeee’s back!

The Hornets are giving Tyler Hansbrough one last chance.

Psycho T knew exactly what he was doing when he stayed at UNC all four years. A bruising power forward in college, Hansbrough figured he would be an undersized pro, and he opted to stick around and become the Tar Heels’ all-time leading scorer and rebounder. Good move. He never considered turning pro early and for that, plus his ferocious style of play, was beloved in college. As the ACC Player of the Year as a junior, a four-time All-American and the 13th pick of the 2009 NBA Draft, he made his guaranteed money and now is in the twilight of his NBA life.

For me, he never looked comfortable as a pro, because he was the quintessential college star. A young man of few words who did his talking on the court, he never took a possession off and only missed a couple of minutes for rest in every game.

What better place to see his basketball career end, or see if he can rekindle that fire back in the state he electrified for four years – leading Carolina to two Final Fours, one national championship and, perhaps more important, four straight victories at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Ah, the good old days.

Hansbrough being signed by Charlotte means that owner Michael Jordan and GM Rich Cho are trying to bring fans back to Time-Warner Cable Arena, after missing the playoffs last season, with a popular name. Hansbrough had his worst season as a pro in 2015, coming off his lowest scoring and rebounding averages and declining numbers in every other category in his second year with Toronto after five in Indiana. Now it’s on to Charlotte.

Hansbrough joins a cast that already includes Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky, two big men who do what Hansbrough does, only better. Best plan for Psycho T is to be a popular sub bounding off the bench to show the same kind of aggression he did at UNC. At the very least, he should be comfortable back in the building where he had some of his greatest post-season games. Remember his o-rebound and buzzer-beater over Virginia Tech in the 2008 ACC Tournament semifinals and his two jumpers that buried Louisville in the East Regional Final two weeks later?

Sad to say for one of the greatest Tar Heels ever, but Hansbrough is now a journeyman pro. Let’s hope he can draw some fans, make some magic and not have that journey end too soon.  If he’s heading for his last hurrah, it should where he got his first.

Tokoto Projected 2nd-Round Selection in Tonight’s Draft

Three Duke Blue Devils are projected to be taken in the first round of tonight’s NBA Draft.

The National Basketball Association will welcome 60 new players during the two-round draft tonight in Brooklyn, New York.

NBA Draft Express is projecting Center Jahlil Okafor to be selected second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers, Guard Justise Winslow to the Orlando Magic at number five, and finally Guard Tyus Jones to the Houston Rockets with the 18th selection.

The impressive trio from the reigning national champions may be outnumbered by Kentucky Wildcats in this year’s draft.

Kentucky seven footer Karl-Anthony Towns is projected to be the number one overall selection by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Charlotte Hornets may come away with a pair of Wildcats to add to former Kentucky star Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The Hornets are projected to select Guard Devin Booker with the ninth selection followed by Kentucky teammate Dakari Johnson in the second round.

UNC Junior JP Tokoto surprised many by leaving school early but now is projected to be a second-round selection of the Miami Heat.

Tar Heels in the Pros: Harrison Barnes

The University of North Carolina has a long-standing tradition of sending its basketball players to the NBA. A breeding ground for sensational talents such as Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Rasheed Wallace, and Vince Carter, UNC has produced a star more recently in Harrison Barnes.

***Listen to the story***

A two-year member of Roy Williams’ program, Harrison Barnes entered the NBA draft in 2012 after his sophomore season at UNC. Since then, the standout shooting guard has been a starter for the Golden State Warriors in two of his three years in the league. In his second season with the Warriors, Barnes only started 24 of their 78 games, a change that he did not acclimate to very well.

Barnes at Cameron Indoor (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Barnes at Cameron Indoor (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

“After my rookie season I felt like we had a good year, I felt like we could have kept the same guys and continued doing what we were doing. We just made some changes and it was just a different experience for me because I had come to the league and I was used to playing a certain way my rookie year, and to come and play a different role and play with a different unit and all that was why I struggled statistically,” Barnes recently told

Barnes’ statistical averages did take a hit in the 2013-2014 season coming off the bench; his field goal and three-point percentages dropped in his sophomore slump.

This season, his third, has by far been Barnes’ best. He started all 82 of the Warriors’ regular season games; he shot 48% from the field as well as 41% from three-point range, and took care of the ball, averaging less than one turnover per game in the regular season.

The rising star has not forgotten his collegiate experience, saying how his wish growing up was to play at North Carolina.

“That was a dream to play at Carolina. I remember I used to tell kids when I was 14 or 15 years old, I was like ‘I’m gonna play on the big stage, I’m going to go play at Carolina’ and these kids used to laugh me out of the gym. ‘Come on man, stop it. North Carolina? That’s the big stage.’ And that was always something I dreamed for and worked for, North Carolina was always the spot for me,” Barnes says.

Barnes has quickly found himself yet another family outside of his home state of Iowa in the Bay Area of northern California. The Golden State fans there have embraced him and have even given him a nickname: “The Senator.”

“That came from Jim Barnett [Warriors TV color analyst],” Barnes says. “I think we were just doing like a little Q&A interview my rookie year and he was like ‘You know you’re always going into politics and your answers are always so well-parsed I’m gonna start calling you “The Senator”,’ and I thought he was joking but he kept calling me that and calling me. Now every time he sees me he says ‘How’re you doing, Senator?’.”

Barnes has been known for his calm and often stately demeanor, even during his time at UNC, but his competitive side is no secret, either. As an important starter for the best team in the NBA, Barnes’ reputation grows with each passing game. Along with stars like Klay Thompson and MVP Stephen Curry, the Warriors have their eyes set on the highest of goals: winning an NBA championship.

Barnes at the 2014 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest (LA Times)

Barnes at the 2014 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest (LA Times)

“You know obviously it’s a very big accomplishment to win the division, that’s something we didn’t do obviously my first two years here. So, it’s a big goal, big milestone but it’s still a long journey to where we want to go,” Barnes says.

Starting their second round series this week against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Warriors are hoping to move on to the Western Conference Finals and face either the Houston Rockets or Los Angeles Clippers.

Next week on “Tar Heels in the Pros,” we’ll feature an ageless wonder – Vince Carter of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Lessons of Peace and Possibilities Through the Sport of Basketball

Although sport media headlines often accentuate the misdeeds and inappropriate actions of athletes, few can doubt the overall national interest in athletic competition and its benefit to America. As a guest of the National Basketball Association (NBA), I recently had the wonderful opportunity to travel to South Africa for the 2015 NBA Africa Game to witness firsthand the investment and impact of basketball on the entire Africa continent. If the influence and outcomes of the NBA Africa Game is any indicator of how sport can foster collaboration, economic development, and business partnerships in a community, we all need to immediately rally and support more sport-related entrepreneurial activities.

The NBA Africa Game, a “startup” venture hosted by NBA Africa in Johannesburg, featured two teams of NBA players whose birthplace (or one parent) is Africa versus players who hail from the United States, Spain, and Montenegro. The highly competitive game was played in a sold out facility that mesmerized the fully engaged African fan-base. The team captains, Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers and Wake Forest University) and Luol Deng (Miami Heat and Duke University), led their teams in a run and shoot battle that was won in the closing minute by Paul’s hot 3- point shooting squad. The NBA did its best to transform this event such that it mirrored a regular season game located in the USA by shipping in a regulation floor, goals, pre-game entertainment, and several NBA mascots. Prominent governmental and basketball dignitaries from other African countries, U.S. Ambassador Patrick Gaspard, South African Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, NBA corporate partners, and entertainers sat at courtside for this historic occasion. The only thing missing at Ellis Arena were the high-tech spotlights and colorful illumination!

Dr. Stroman with Chris Paul

Dr. Stroman with Chris Paul

Over the past few decades, under the former leadership of Commissioner David Stern and now Silver, the NBA has arguably surpassed America’s favorite pastime of Major League Baseball and the National Football League to lead the professional sport industry in many creative business strategies. The NBA’s forward-thinking executives, staff, and owners have implemented many policies and programs to greatly propel interest in basketball across the USA and the entire world. Still beaming from its media broadcast contract of $2.6 billion dollar per year through the 2024-2025 season, the NBA has even managed to garner the attention of sport lovers without winning teams in two of the largest media markets: Los Angeles and New York City! Undoubtedly, operating as a global sport business matters a great deal to the NBA. This determination is demonstrated in the following ways:

  • The ability to effectively manage labor negotiations has spurned a very attractive employment opportunity such that NBA players are the highest paid athletes in the world earning an average of $4.5 million per year (2014- 15 season).
  • The NBA scores very well in matters of diversity and racial equality issues. The league scored an A+ for racial hiring practices from the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. From employment (e.g., Becky Hammond, of the San Antonio Spurs, recently became the league’s first female coach) to the All-Star Weekend’s Newsmaker Breakfast, whereby an invitation-only audience hears a message from a prominent leader, the NBA desires to be a world-class business organization – not just a basketball league.
  • The NBA Tech Summit is a way for the league to demonstrate its commitment to youth and the implementation of new media and advanced digital technological tools. It is of no surprise and very much by design that the NBA is highly popular on newer social media platforms such as Vine and Snapchat. In addition, the NBA (17 million followers) and its league stars are the most active and popular professional athletes on Twitter.

Arguably, these business successes pale in comparison to the vast investment — social, economic, and political – by the NBA to their commitment to the global expansion of basketball. Charitable efforts such as NBA Cares and with more than 100 players born or raised outside of the United States, the NBA has created a plentiful marketing platform to engage most of the entire world with its numerous product extensions. Since 2001the NBA has implemented grassroots programming through partnerships with Basketball Without Borders (BWB) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) to offer more than 41 BWB camps in 23 cities in 20 countries on five continents! Having more children play basketball and learn life skills through sport participation is the ultimate mission of the NBA global initiatives.

In conjunction with the 2015 NBA Africa Game, the NBA and BWB hosted youth clinics, refurbished a library and donated two basketball courts at the SOS Children’s Village and a Boys and Girls Club at Protea Glen. As a public-private partnership, the NBA worked collaboratively with governmental and community leaders to support the SOS Children’s Village at Ennerdale, which creates and supports the family structure for orphaned and abandoned children. Current NBA players were joined at these events by notable NBA alumni Dikembe Mutumbo, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Curtis “Muggsy” Bogues (Wake Forest), five-time NBA championship Coach Gregg Popovich, NBA owner RC Slocum, NBA Africa managing director Amadou Fall, and NBA Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer.

Similar to global immersion programs, this trip by the NBA players and guests was so much more than the opportunity to teach and expose basketball to soccer and cricket aficionados. Yes, South Africa clearly received the sport skills and influence of the NBA brand. However, the buzz on the ground centered on the visitors being moved by the powerful symbols, monuments, and museums throughout the city. The shrines and tributes fully represent the past struggle and determination to unify the country. All who were a part of the NBA contingent felt the impact of Pres. Nelson Mandela’s love, forgiveness philosophy, and promotion of an intentional democratic governmental structure. In particular, the visit to the Apartheid Museum was very emotional as the experience brought one seemingly face-to-face with the injustice, horrors, and cowardice of a racist power structure. Players were provided a very unforgettable experiential history lesson that many never received in their U.S. classrooms.

Apartheid Museum

Apartheid Museum

Although I am back home in America, I still feel the drumbeat of Africa from one of the most rewarding business trips one could ever imagine. The inaugural NBA Africa Game reflected Mandela’s spirit and goal to use sport to bring people together. For many years the South African apartheid regime cleverly manipulated barriers and political policy to uphold the immoral government. However, the country’s minority white population and President F.W. de Klerk could not understand nor accept the isolation and exclusion imposed by the sporting world. Countries refused to play ball with South Africa. As Mr. Mandela noted, this rejection made the difference; peace and the long journey to reconciliation was indeed sparked by the power of sport. We remain ever grateful for this unique platform of sport to touch the hearts of humankind to imagine and build solutions for tomorrow. And isn’t it amazing that in 2015 basketball is still remains one of the most effective ways to foster new ideas, increase diversity, and promote collaboration? The possibilities are endless for this children’s game that makes us smile and cheer. A big salute to the NBA for its entrepreneurial spirit to ignite that feeling across the world!

Duke’s Jabari Parker, Rodney Hood Declare For NBA Draft

Duke freshman Jabari Parker is entering the NBA draft.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski says in a statement Thursday it was “an honor for us to have him in our program.” In an essay posted on, Parker says the NBA offers him the best chance to develop both as a player and off the court.

There is a strong chance Parker could be the No. 1 overall pick in June. The All-American was the highest-scoring freshman in Duke history and became the first freshman to be selected team MVP since Johnny Dawkins in 1983.

He is the fifth Blue Devils player to enter the draft after his freshman season, joining Corey Maggette, Luol Deng, Kyrie Irving and Austin Rivers.

Duke sophomore Rodney Hood also announced Thursday that he would forego his junior and senior years and enter the NBA draft. According to, Hood is a top-15 draft pick.

Bobcats Select Indiana C Zeller With No. 4 Pick

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The Charlotte Bobcats have selected Indiana center Cody Zeller with the No. 4 pick in the NBA draft.

Bobcats general manager Rich Cho said earlier in the week the Bobcats needed a big man and the 7-foot, 240-pound Zeller should provide help on the boards.

Zeller averaged 16.5 points and 8.1 rebounds last season as a sophomore for the Hoosiers. He finished as Indiana’s career record holder in field goal percentage, shooting 59.1 percent from the floor.

Two Hoosiers were picked in the top four in the draft. Victor Oladipo was selected second overall by Orlando.

Charlotte is 28-120 over the past two seasons and has never won a playoff game.

The Bobcats chose Zeller over two other available centers – Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel and Maryland’s Alex Len.

LeBron Leads Heat To Second Straight Title

MIAMI (AP) – LeBron James had 37 points and 12 rebounds and the Miami Heat repeated as champions with a 95-88 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.

Dwyane Wade added 23 points and 10 rebounds and Shane Battier scored 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting from 3-point range for Miami. James made 5 of 10 3s, all the while hounding Spurs star Tony Parker on defense to make the Heat the first back-to-back champs since the Lakers in 2009-10.

Tim Duncan had 24 points and 12 rebound for the Spurs, who were trying to become the first road team to win a finals Game 7 since Washington in 1978. Kawhi Leonard added 19 points and 16 rebounds.

Mario Chalmers scored 14 for Miami.

San Antonio lost for the first time in five finals appearances.

Duncan, Spurs Collapse Down the Stretch

MIAMI (AP) – Tim Duncan was delivering a vintage performance, and the San Antonio Spurs were streaking to the franchise’s fifth championship.

Then the 37-year-old forward ran out of gas, and the Spurs collapsed down the stretch like they so rarely have before.

Duncan had 30 points and 14 rebounds in the first three quarters, but was scoreless and grabbed just three boards in the fourth quarter and overtime of San Antonio’s 103-100 overtime loss to the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night.

The Spurs led by 10 points at the start of the fourth quarter and by five with 28 seconds to play. But Duncan missed all five of his shots in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Game 7 is on Thursday night in Miami.

Spurs’ Green sets NBA Finals record for 3-pointers

SAN ANTONIO (AP) – San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green set an NBA Finals record for 3-pointers Sunday with 25 against the Miami Heat.

Green broke Ray Allen’s 2008 mark of 22 in a finals series with his fourth 3-pointer of the night early in the third quarter of Game 5. He later added two more and finished with 24 points, shooting 6 of 10 from long range.

It was the fourth time that the once-unheralded swingman has hit at least four 3-pointers this series.

Green is shooting 66 percent from 3-point range this series after breaking the record. He’ll try to add to his total in Game 6 on Tuesday night in Miami.

Allen, who now plays for the Heat, set the previous mark as a member of the Boston Celtics.

The Spurs beat the Heat 114-104 on Sunday.

Two Former Tar Heels Earn All-Rookie Honors

CHAPEL HILL – Two of UNC’s 2012 NBA draft picks can be glad they made the jump to the next level for the honors they pulled in their first year on the professional hardcourt.

Golden State’s Harrison Barnes was named to this year’s NBA All-Rookie First Team; Cleveland’s Tyler Zeller was named to the All-Rookie Second Team.

Golden State took down Denver in the first round of the playoffs and is down 3-2 to San Antonio in the conference semifinals. Barnes is contributing more than 25 minutes a game and averaging nearly ten points and four rebounds per game. He’s hit a stride in the postseason and is averaging nearly 17 points per contest in almost 40 minutes per game.

Zeller’s Cavaliers didn’t make it to the post season with their 24-58 record. However the former Tar Heel averaged just short of eight points per game in 26 minutes of action per contest. He also pulled down an average of nearly six rebounds per game.

The two other 2012 draftees, John Henson and Kendall Marshall have been getting some fair playing time and contributing well to their respective teams. Henson scored six points for Milwaukee per contest this season in more than 13 minutes a game. He too got to see the postseason, but not for long as Miami swept the series 4-0.

Marshall got some quality minutes at the point for Phoenix, which finished last in the Western Conference at 25-57. He averaged just more than 14.5 minutes, three points, and three assists per outing.