AL HAMNIK: Hansbrough brothers now getting after each other as Pacers

2012-12-04T20:15:00Z 2012-12-05T22:41:05Z AL HAMNIK: Hansbrough brothers now getting after each other as PacersAl Hamnik Times Columnist
December 04, 2012 8:15 pm  • 

CHICAGO | Other than growing up under the same roof, Tyler and Ben Hansbrough may as well be from different solar systems.

Tyler is 6-foot-9, Ben 6-3.

Tyler led North Carolina to the 2009 NCAA Championship, was national player of the year, and the Indiana Pacers' first-round draft pick.

Ben attended Mississippi State, transferred to Notre Dame, missed the 2011 NBA Pre-Draft Combine in Chicago with a sprained ankle, was not drafted, and played overseas in Germany and Slovenia.

Since winning the Missouri state championship for Poplar Bluff High School — located 150 miles south of St. Louis — the Hansbroughs are together again.

Last September, Ben signed a non-guaranteed contract with the Pacers for this season and the siblings became a footnote for trivia buffs.

There are now four sets of brothers in NBA history who've played together on the same team: Tom and Dick Van Arsdale with Phoenix, Brent and Mark Price with Washington, Dominique and Gerald Wilkins with Orlando, and the Hansbroughs.

"We don't really pay attention to any of that," Ben said. "I'm constantly thinking about ways to improve myself, not how having Tyler on the team affects me."

Neither views the roster move as a public relations stunt, nor a distraction for coach Frank Vogel.

"I think each has their own individual roles," Vogel said before Tuesday night's game with the Bulls. "They're both very well liked in the locker room and very well respected."

Tyler has been Indiana's sixth man for much of his tenure, providing energy, clutch shooting and rebounds, but he bottomed out the last five games with only 21 points on 4-of-18 shooting.

"He's got to figure it out himself," Vogel said.

Ben has appeared briefly in three games.

"He's just got to stay ready," Vogel said. "I've got a great deal of belief in him as a scoring point guard that brings the same type of toughness and energy his brother does.

"Ben's got a tough challenge because he's not getting a lot of minutes, so he's got to continue to work on his game."

The 2011 Big East Player of the Year is listening. He was the last teammate to leave the United Center weight room, and the last to leave the court after shootaround.

"Every now and then you see a harder-than-usual screen in practice and you wonder if you gotta step in there," Vogel said, "but that's just healthy brotherly love, right?"

It's the only way Hansbroughs know how to play.

"We definitely like to brawl and get after it," Ben said. "He's my brother and at the end of the day, he's just not gonna be able to push me around out there."

Tyler won't stop trying, particularly now.

"We're not out here saying: 'Oh, we're brothers and we're in the NBA. It's so cool.' We look at it as we're on the same team and trying to accomplish the same thing — helping our team win," Tyler said.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at

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