March 20, 2011
CHICAGO (AP) – That fan who taunted Ben Hansbrough by yelling, “Tyler’s better!” during Notre Dame’s second-round win won’t get any argument from the BIG EAST player of the year.
Not these days, at least.
Ben Hansbrough is averaging 21.9 points, 5.1 assists and 4.4 rebounds over the last 14 games, a stretch in which Notre Dame has gone 12-2. But Tyler Hansbrough, the 2008 national player of the year, has had three games just this week with at least 29 points.
After scoring 29 and 30 against the New York Knicks on Sunday and again Tuesday, Tyler Hansbrough scored 29 and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Indiana Pacers’ 115-108 victory Friday night over the Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Bulls.
“I’m going to have to go with Tyler right now, because of the level he’s doing it at,” Ben Hansbrough said Saturday, when asked which brother is playing better right now.
The Hansbroughs are close – Tyler recently said his younger brother is “still my favorite teammate ever” – and being separated by 130 miles has made it easy for them to keep tabs on each other. They’re also extremely competitive.
Or at least they used to be, anyway.
“Just growing up around my house, whoever’s playing ping pong, you really, really want to win the game,” Ben Hansbrough said. “You could go downstairs in our ping pong (area). There were about seven holes in the wall. My dad’s smart because he put a punching bag down there.”
Ben Hansbrough figured he and older brother Greg did most of the damage. Tyler is more likely to break paddles.
“It’s very intense in whatever we do,” Ben Hansbrough said. “That’s what makes us who we are, but it’s fun. It’s very fun, too. We can make fun of each other, joke with each other about it. I guess it’s just part of who we were growing up.”
As for Tyler’s recent success?
“He’s been playing really well,” Ben Hansbrough said. “He works his butt off in offseason and I’m glad to see he’s having success like he is. I couldn’t be happier for him.”
NET PROFFITT: Under different circumstances, Ty Proffitt could have been celebrating Notre Dame’s 69-56 tournament-opening win over Akron in Chicago on Friday.
Instead, Proffitt elected to transfer to Morehead State. It’s a decision that’s turned out quite, well, profitable as the junior guard helped guide the 13th-seeded Eagles to a 62-61 win over No. 4 Louisville on Thursday in the tournament’s biggest upset so far.
“Very happy with my decision,” said Proffitt, who switched schools in 2008 simply so he could be closer to his hometown of London, Ky. “These guys would do anything in the world for me and I’d do anything in the world for them. I can’t be happier.”
Proffitt still keeps in contact with his former Irish teammates, exchanging messages with them on a regular basis. Notre Dame’s Tim Abromaitis even called to congratulate him after the Eagles won the Ohio Valley Conference tournament.