It required no study, no analysis, no agony to select Kansas State's Michael Beasley over North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough for Sporting News freshman of the year.
They're both players, though, whether you view that term as a simple noun or with the appropriate italicized emphasis: Beasley is a player; Hansbrough is a player. So choosing between the two forSporting News player of the year was not easy.
In the end, though, Hansbrough earned the award that makes him a successor to Texas' Kevin Durant, Jameer Nelson of Saint Joseph's, Purdue's Glenn Robinson and so many other great collegians.
Beasley is an astonishing shot-maker for a player his size -- 6-10, 235 pounds -- and his ravenous hands led to some obscene rebounding totals.
However, Hansbrough got the edge for a number of reasons.
• Impact. When North Carolina point guard Ty Lawson was out almost a month with an ankle injury, Hansbrough's job should have become harder. But he averaged 29.0 points to propel the Tar Heels to a 5-1 record during that stretch -- up more than seven points from what he had been averaging.
• Leadership. Hansbrough is not a vocal player, but his extraordinary effort level makes him, in coach Roy Williams' estimation, an exceptional leader by example.
• Big games. Hansbrough showed up for every important game the Heels played, averaging 22.7 points and 11.9 rebounds in their nine games against top 50 RPI teams. When he failed to reach 20 points in four of those games, Hansbrough elevated his production on the boards, averaging 13.5.
• Success. North Carolina entered the week 29-2; Kansas State was 20-10. Team success is a component in any individual player award. If it weren't, Paul Hornung would not be the only Heisman Trophy winner from a losing team.