Friday, June 27, 2008

TOLY HANSBROUGH: THREE SPORT STAR?

A new recruiting battle is heating up down on Tobacco Road, and this time it isn’t UNC vs. Duke.

No, this go ‘round it’s a family squabble as UNC basketball Coach Ol’ Roy and UNC baseball coach Mike Fox were seen in an Omaha steakhouse arguing over the services of local phenom Toly Hansbrough.

Fresh off a disappointing loss in the CWS to ultimate champ Fresno State, UNC skipper Mike Fox had gotten word that Toly recently went 2 for 2 with no fielding errors (he never touched the ball) in the Fauquier Babe Ruth T-Ball All Star Game on Tuesday night at Athey Field Annex.

Knowing, Toly’s affinity for the Tar Heels, Fox quickly placed a post-game congratulatory call reaching Toly on his agent’s (mom’s) cell phone at the Carousel ice cream stand, a popular post-game hang out for budding young stars.

“Roy saw him first, “ said Ol’ Roy, “He’s mine. If you don’t believe me, just ask his mother. Last time Roy looked she was driving the Toly bus straight to the Dean Dome.”

“There’s no reason he can’t be a two sport star,” said Fox.

Toly originally committed to Williams making him both the youngest and smallest basketball recruit at the famous Chapel Hill institution. Toly confirmed his intentions last summer with a visit to the Smith Center and Ol’ Roy’s office where he charmed the staff departing with photos of the ACC Tournament trophy and handfuls of candy. (Even the ladies in the basketball office are in on the whole recruiting thing…candy, nice touch.)

Fox, whose team has lost in the semi-final or finals of the last three College World Series, is desperate for that intangible that will take his team to the top of the stitched cowhide mountain.

The debate over recruiting a six-year-old rising first-grader brings additional focus to college basketball recruiting issues. Last week, the National Association of Basketball Coaches said it strongly opposes accepting commitments from students who have not yet completed their sophomore season in high school. The decision came a little more than a month after the 15-year-old Michael Avery said he would attend Kentucky.

The board of directors said the decision was made, in part, because younger athletes had not yet demonstrated “sufficient academic credentials” to be admitted to school. The board also acknowledged it was too difficult to project how refined their basketball skills would be by graduation.

“Roy's not asking for a commitment,” said Ol’ Roy, “and Roy's heard that Toly is a pretty gosh darn good student…tops of his kindergarten class…well, maybe, in the top 50%...well, actually, Roy's not really sure, but his attendance record is pretty darn good.”

In a prepared statement released to the media late Thursday, UNC head football coach Butch Davis said Toly had found his way on to the football program’s radar screen and that there was “mild interested.”

Toly, who was “shooting baskets” in the driveway of his family home, could not be reached for comment.

(Photos by Toly's Mom)

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