Monthly Archives: August 2009

Rest In Peace, Senator Kennedy


Family Statement

“Edward M. Kennedy—the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply—died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port. We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever. We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness and opportunity for all. He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it’s hard to imagine any of them without him.”

*All of this information and statements from his colleagues can be found on Senator Kennedy’s official Senate website.

If you would like to share a memory or condolences with the Kennedy family, you can do so here.

Tyler Hansbrough Day

There’s really no way that my own thoughts could do this event justice, and since I wasn’t there in person, I won’t attempt to do so.  I’ll just let the news report speak for itself.  I will tell you that they painted his autograph on the floor as the way to designate it Tyler Hansbrough Court at Poplar Bluff High School.  I hadn’t even really thought about what it would look like, but using his autograph was a pretty creative idea, I think.

My favorite part is that he specifically referred to his teammates when talking about what an honor this was.  As you can read in the article below, he wants all future players at PBHS who see his name on that court to remember all his teammates that worked just as hard as he did.  Team First = Tyler “what planet are you from” Hansbrough

For a slightly longer, professional video by the Pacers, go here.

Poplar Bluff presents Hansbrough with key to city

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. — Indiana Pacers rookie forward and former University of North Carolina national champion Tyler Hansbrough was honored Thursday night in his hometown as the city awarded him a key to the city and the gym floor was named in his honor at E.T. Peters Gym, where he played prep basketball at Poplar Bluff High School.

Hansbrough was a three-time all-state selection for the Mules from 2001 to 2005, winning two Class 5 state championships in his junior and senior years.

Hansbrough owns the school record for points scored in a career (2,464), career rebounds (1,175), points in a season (801) and points in a game (44).

Hansbrough, who was wearing a walking boot due to his recent shin injury, pulled the sheet off the newly enshrined Tyler Hansbrough Court.

“One thing about this court is when you see my name out on the floor when the kids are back [from summer break] working out, one thing I want them to remember is about the team that I was involved with,” Hansbrough said. “It wasn’t just myself.”

Hansbrough thanked his teammates for helping him earn this honor.

“It was more the people that I was surrounded with that helped me out in high school and in college,” he said. “I’ve been lucky to be around great people and a great community.”

Hansbrough had family, former teachers and teammates, along with about 500 fans, in attendance.

“We’ve had a lot of great memories here,” Tyler’s mother, Tami Hansbrough, said. “It’s hard to describe. It’s just great to be back and having people supporting you. He’s excited about [the honor], too. Basketball is just a big part of our lives.”

North Carolina coach Roy Williams, former Poplar Bluff coach John David Pattillo and Pacers coach Jim O’Brien also attended the ceremony.

O’Brien said he hoped Hansbrough’s winning ways at UNC and Poplar Bluff rub off on the Pacers, who haven’t made the NBA playoffs since the 2005-2006 season.

Hansbrough went 99-15 at Poplar Bluff and 120-22 at North Carolina.

O’Brien, along with Pacers president Larry Bird and general manager David Morway, were shocked he still was available at their No. 13 pick in June’s NBA draft.

“We are absolutely delighted to have Tyler,” O’Brien said. “We were shocked that he was available to us at 13. We made the decision [a few years back] that we were going to build a team of people of high character that loved to be in the gym, that loved to work, that would be good teammates and good representatives of their community.”

Williams spoke of his memories of coming to Poplar Bluff during the recruiting process.

He made a visit one fall to watch Hansbrough lift weights and shoot baskets. After a visit to a golf course with some Poplar Bluff coaches in the afternoon while Hansbrough was in class, Williams returned later that evening to watch a Mules pickup game.

“I couldn’t talk to Tyler,” Williams said. “It was during the time period that we couldn’t talk to individuals, you could only watch him play.

“I remember walking back and saying to John David, I said, ‘Coach would do me favor? Would you tell Tyler that I was here from weights at 7 a.m. and I was here for shooting at 7:45 a.m. and came back to the scrimmage at 7 p.m. and [Duke coach Mike] Krzyzewski’s butt was just here for the pick up games.'”

Williams never will forget the time spent as Hansbrough’s coach.

“It was a wonderful experience to coach him for four years and be in that locker room,” Williams said.

Earlier in the program, Poplar Bluff Mayor Loyd Matthews read a proclamation and presented Hansbrough with a key to the city.

Later in the evening, Hansbrough remarked that he wished he had that key while in high school so he could have worked on his game.

“It would have been a lot easier to get in this gym,” Hansbrough said. “I wouldn’t have had to climb through the window or break a door. I was really religious about getting in here and working out and getting my shots.”

Friday, August 14, 2009
By ROB TATE ~ Daily American Republic


I’ve been to the Carolina Basketball Museum three times now, and it’s not old, yet.  I’m still finding something I missed every time.  This time was important though.  This time we were going to see the newest additions to the family.  The 2009 National Championship trophies.  I proudly wore my new Hansbrough Pacers t-shirt and still cried when Antawn Jamison says in the video introduction to the museum that he’s never felt on any level the way he felt when he ran out of the tunnel at the Smith Center. 

I understand there is a case in the works for Tyler’s memorabilia that he has donated to the school/museum, but it isn’t ready, yet.  And, the new trophies will eventually be placed in a case similar to the ones the other national championship trophies are in.  Just another reason to visit the museum.  This time through, I only took two pictures because only two pictures needed to be taken, and I still got giggly when I saw the trophies like the game was just the day before.

Funny story: when I took the picture of the game ball and NABC Coaches’ Trophy, I did a double take on the ball at first thinking that it couldn’t possibly be the ball signed by the team from this year because the score of the game wasn’t nearly lopsided enough.  HA!  But it was the correct ball from the correct team. 

If you’d like to see all my pictures from my visits to the museum, go here

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Running of the Bulls


door sign

For as long as I can remember my brother has loved sports.  When he was growing up he didn’t just play basketball in the front yard.  He also was the announcer and crowd, but I don’t know many kids who weren’t the same way.  For a while there, he wanted to be a sportscaster for ESPN until he got into coaching and seemed to find that being that close to the game of basketball was really where his heart was.  Over the last decade or so he’s been a successful coach in girls/women’s basketball, and this week that turned into something more.

As his sister, I’m probably biased, but I think he’s brilliant.  I think it’s taken way too long for other people in the game of basketball and sports in general to recognize the talent he has, but this week all those other people took a step in the right direction. 

Alwood Hired As Director Of Women’s Basketball Operations

TAMPA –University of South Florida head women’s basketball coach Jose Fernandez announced this afternoon the hiring of Andy Alwood as the program’s Director of Women’s Basketball Operations. Alwood replaces veteran Florida high school coach Cayll Smith who moved to Pittsburgh to pursue other opportunities.

“I am extremely happy about my position here at USF,” said Alwood. “I am looking forward to new opportunities at the collegiate level and what it has to offer. I have known Jose and Jeff (Associate Head Coach Jeff Osterman) for a long time and think that it will be a good atmosphere to work in.”

Alwood, who is a 1999 graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, has had an extremely successful career on the sidelines as a head coach in six short years. A native of Lakeland, Fla., but raised most of his life in Charlotte County, Alwood spent five years as head coach and assistant director of athletics at Charlotte High School where he led the Tarpons to a 97-46 (.648) record, including three straight 20-win seasons, three appearances in the District championship game, and two District titles.

This past season he served as head girl’s basketball coach at Gaither High School where the Cowgirls posted a 13-10 record. Alwood boast’s a career coaching record of 110-56 (.705).

No stranger to the USF women’s basketball team, since 2005 Alwood has served as the Director of the University of South Florida Girl’s Basketball Team Camp, widely considered as one of the best in the Southeast, and the Co-Director of the USF Girl’s Elite Camp.

“We are very fortunate to have Andy join our staff,” said Fernandez. “Andy in an extremely hard worker and will be a tremendous asset to our program. With him having been involved with our summer camps, he has a very good understanding of our organizational structure and the way our program runs.”

This past season, the Bulls posted a 27-10 record – the best in school history – and an 8-8 eighth place finish in the BIG EAST Conference. USF finished the year winning five consecutive games en route to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament postseason title – including three consecutive on the road. After a first round bye, the Bulls took care of Florida Gulf Coast (88-81 in overtime) on March 21 and Mississippi (74-57) on March 26, both coming at home. USF then hit the road, for 10 straight days, to defeat St. Bonaventure (80-66) on March 29, Boston College (82-65) on April 1 and Kansas (75-71) on April 4 in the title game.

The championship game with the Jayhawks was played in front of a USF, Kansas and Big 12 women’s basketball record crowd of 16,113 at historic Phog Allen Fieldhouse. It was also the eighth largest crowd to see a women’s basketball game in Division I this season. 

Wait, there’s more.

Gaither girls hoops coach hired at USF

Andy Alwood, who coached Gaither High’s girl’s basketball team last season, has been hired as director of women’s basketball operations at the University of South Florida.

Alwood, 35, was 13-10 last season at Gaither. He replaces Cayll Smith, USF’s former director of basketball operations.

Alwood also coached at Punta Gorda Charlotte for seven seasons, including five as a head coach.

“I’ve known Coach [Jose] Fernandez for quite a while,” Alwood said. “We had a lot of mutual friends and we’ve gotten along well. It seemed like a real natural fit. I’ve also known [assistant] Jeff Osterman for a while. It was a good opportunity to get into the college level.”

Alwood also has been USF’s team camp director the past four years.

And, one more: NCAA Transactions on ESPN

Needless to say, I’m one proud sister.  Love you, bro!

Tyler’s Summer Vacation

Since being drafted 13th overall by the Indiana Pacers in the 2009 NBA draft, Tyler Hansbrough has wasted no time acclimating himself to the professional ranks.  A couple weeks after the draft, he played in the Orlando Pro Summer League.  He and fellow Pacer Roy Hibbert helped lead their team to an undefeated tournament, and both of them made 1st team all tournament.  Tyler averaged 18.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game in the 5 game tournament.  In fact, he quite impressed the bunch of media types who are the only ones invited to these tournament.  I, on the other hand, was not the least bit surprised by his performance.  And, if you’re wondering, yes I did find the link on the Orlando Magic website to watch the games online and watched every single one of them.

Almost immediately following the summer league play, the organizers of the NASCAR Brickyard 400 announced that Tyler would be the grand marshal of the festivities waving the green flag to start the race.  This impressed me immediately because Peyton Manning was drafted first overall in the 1998 NFL draft and he didn’t get to wave the green flag at Indianapolis Motor Speedway until after he’d won a Super Bowl.  Tyler simply gets drafted and they invite him to wave the flag.

tyler flag

In true Tyler Hansbrough fashion, he waved that flag with as much force as he does when rebounding a ball under the basket with four opposing players hanging on him.  You can watch the video below. The NASCAR race was his first to attend despite spending the last 4 years in the hot bed of NASCAR, North Carolina.

Following the race, the Pacers announced that they would be resting Tyler Hansbrough for 6-8 weeks because the stress reaction in his shin that plagued him at the beginning of last season had returned.  They are resting him in the hopes that he will be available for the full 82-game NBA season.  This stress reaction is one of those annoying injuries that seems like it would be a lot easier to rehab if the reaction was actually a fracture.  At least then he could heal the bone and rehab the leg that way.  I’m always concerned that if he rests it and then goes out there and plays like Tyler Hansbrough, the reaction will just keep returning.  But I’m assuming the NBA knows what they’re doing and I’m hopeful that this period of rest is more of a precaution and there’s not really as strong an injury as he experienced last season.  In his own words, he said that last year’s stress reaction didn’t actually go away until well into December.

I just keep reminding myself that Michael Jordan broke his foot his second season in the NBA and look how his career turned out.  Now, before you yell at me, I am in no way saying that Tyler Hansbrough is Michael Jordan or vice versa.  I’m simply stating that it’s obvious that an injury to start your career does not have to ruin said career.

All in all, Tyler’s had quite the productive summer.  The 6-8 week rest should make him immediately ready for training camp at the end of September and then preseason games.