Hansbrough vs. Harangody

The more college basketball I watch, the more I can’t help but wonder about the future careers of North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough and Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody. Both are elite college power forwards whose size doesn’t really translate to that position at the next level. Hansbrough is listed at 6-foot-9 and 250 pounds. Harangody is listed at 6-foot-8 and 251 pounds. Now, this doesn’t mean they can’t be NBA power forwards. Elton Brand is a damn good power forward and he is 6-foot-8 254 pounds. I think what will determine the better NBA player is the combination of skill and versatility, which I think both go to the less-publicized Harangody.

I don’t watch every game these players play, but in the ones I do watch and the highlights I catch, Harangody seems to be the one making the more “athletic” plays. I’ve always seen Hansbrough as a bruiser who doesn’t have very good post skills. He just kind of bulls over people to get to the rim. I would compare his post play to Shaquille O’Neal without the size, but Shaq has much more skill than Hansbrough and much more skill in the post than most people give him credit for. I just don’t think Hansbrough can do what he does in college in the NBA. Greg Oden bulled over people in college and he is struggling to score 10 points per game in the NBA. And Oden is 7-feet tall. I think Harangody’s post game translates better to the NBA game. He seems to be more about positioning on a player rather than brute strength. 

Tyler Hansbrough

Tyler Hansbrough

Regardless, both players are going to have to shoot from the outside. If you are under 7-feet tall (and most of the time even if you are 7-foot or taller) you have to be able to shoot from the outside to have success in the NBA. I don’t mean 3-point range, but consistently knocking down a 15-20 foot jump shot. Take a look at Tyrus Thomas’ career numbers if you don’t believe me. He is far more athletic than either Hansbrough or Harangody, but he can’t make an outside shot – so he can’t score consistently. Hansbrough has been working on this part of his game, that is why he is still in Carolina blue and not Houston Rocket red (or some other NBA color), but I think Harangody has him beat in this sense of the game too. Harangody has a smoother shot than Hansbrough, and he looks a lot more comfortable shooting from outside the paint.

The final thing is rebounding. For all of the praise Hansbrough gets for his scoring, his rebounding numbers are not as good as I imagined. His best rebounding season came last year, when he grabbed 10.2 a game. Every other year he has averaged less than eight a contest (this year isn’t done yet, but he is only at 7.5 a game). Harangody pulled down 10.6 a game last year and this year is averaging 12.7. I’m not sure how this will translate because college rebounds are kind of funny. Kevin Durant averaged more rebounds than Greg Oden the one year they were in college, but Durant doesn’t rebound much in the pros because he basically plays shooting guard. It seems like another edge to Harangody.


Luke Harangody

Luke Harangody

I don’t think either player will be as big a star as they are in college, but I think Harangody will be the more productive pro. It will be interesting to see how these two careers pan out because I don’t think either player will be a super-high draft pick. Both I would say are first rounders barring a major injury or criminal act, but I don’t see them as top-5 picks. As a note, Harangody is a junior, Hansbrough a senior. So you will see Hansbrough in this summer’s draft, but Harangody could elect to return to Notre Dame for his final season.

I’m not saying my opinion is always right either. I once wrote that Philip Rivers was in a much better spot than Eli Manning – then Eli won a Super Bowl. Whoops.


One Response

  1. When I first saw the entry, I was going to inform you to be careful and tip-toe with the subject.

    You did a very good job and I agree that I think Harangody will be better because I don’t think Hansbrough will improve on the things that his style of play would need.

    Of the two, many may disagree but I think Harangody is quicker, more fluid, and more complete offensively. He also has more of a shot of repeating his college success. Hansbrough I just see as fundementally soung, aggressive and out of control but obviously in better shape and passionate.

    I do think if Hansbrough can improve his altheticism and develop a very consistent/good mid-range game he can be a very good player and the better of these two.

    He screams Carlos Boozer in my eyes. Boozer is a little more athletic to me but god do they remind me of each other. Both very strong, undersized, dominant ACC players who are being overlooked a bit by NBA teams because they lacked “upside”.

    “Upside” makes sense when you are dealing with guys who are raw/athletic or guys who need to take over games because they have the skills for it.

    Guys like Boozer and Hansbrough I think will put up very similar numbers as college and for whatever reason, that gets overlooked.

    Harangody on the other hand, reminds me of fellow Irish Alum Troy Murphy. Now the physical characteristics are different, especially in comparison to how close Boozer-Hansbrough were, but they remind me of one another for more reasons than their college.

    Whether I can explain it is where I’ll struggle. Just watching how they play. They’re aggressive and just seem to understand the game. They rarely seem out of place and have a knack for being very physical.

    Murphy has a couple inches on Harangody but their numbers at ND and again the Big East are extremely similar.

    I think Harangody is a little more fine-tuned offensively, and that will help his game in the pro’s. But if he puts up Murphy’s 11-11 line, I don’t think it would upset many teams.

    Assuming Harangody can get into a little better shape, I think he can put up a very good 15-20 ppg and 10 boards. I think he’d be tough for a lot of the lanky PF’s to handle defensively. On the same token, he needs to make sure he is quick enough to handle them defensively.

    Just my two cents….Nice post Jet.

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