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Hansbrough Impresses in Bobcats Third Draft Workout
By Matt Rochinski and Brian Verdi

June 10, 2009

Tyler Hansbrough Video | Taj Gibson and Ahmad Nivins Video | Ben McCauley Video
2009 Draft Workouts Gallery | 2009 Draft Central

Charlotte continued its preparation for the 2009 NBA Draft on Wednesday at the Presbyterian Hospital Training Center in Time Warner Cable Arena. North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough, USC’s Taj Gibson, Saint Joseph’s’ Ahmad Nivins, N.C. State’s Ben McCauley, Memphis’ Shawn Taggert and James Madison’s Juwann James all participated in draft workouts with the Bobcats.

Tyler Hansbrough is the ACC’s all-time leading scorer and ranks12th in NCAA history with 2,872 points. He ranks first in NCAA history with 982 free throws made and second in attempts with 1,241. Hansbrough is UNC’s all-time leading rebounder (1,219) and is the only player in league history to earn First Team All-America and First Team All-ACC honors four times. As a senior, he was named to the ACC All-Tournament First Team and the Final Four All-Tournament Team while helping North Carolina win a national championship. Following his junior season, Hansbrough was named the National Player of the Year by the AP, USBWA, NABC and Sporting News. He was also named the ACC Player of the Year, ACC Tournament MVP and NCAA East Regional Most Outstanding Player after averaging 22.6 points per game and 10.2 rebounds per game.

Taj Gibson, an early entry candidate for the 2009 NBA Draft, is USC’s all-time leader in blocked shots (253) and is second all-time in rebounds (896). Following his junior season at USC, Gibson was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and earned All-Conference Second Team honors. He ranked first in the conference in blocks (100) and third in rebounds (316) last season. Gibson led his team in rebounding (9.0 rpg), blocks (2.9 bpg) and field-goal percentage (.601), and was second on the team in scoring (14.3 ppg) and third in steals (1.0 spg). As a sophomore, Gibson led the Pac-10 in blocks (83) and was third in field-goal percentage (.580).

Ahmad Nivins finished his career as the third leading scorer (1,789 points) and sixth leading rebounder (955) in Saint Joseph’s history. He owns school records for career field goal percentage (.627), single-season field goal percentage (.647) and free throws made (561). Following his senior season, Nivins was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and was named to the All-Conference First Team and All-Defensive Team. Nivins led the A-10 in rebounds (11.8 rpg), field goal percentage (.612), and minutes played (39.3 mpg) and finished third in scoring (19.2 ppg).

Ben McCauley led N.C. State in rebounding (7.8 rpg) and minutes played (892) as a senior, and was second in scoring (12.4 ppg) and field goal percentage (.538). In 2008-2009, he ranked eighth in the ACC in rebounding. As a sophomore, McCauley was an All-ACC honorable mention performer and was named to the All-ACC Tournament Second Team.

Shawn Taggart averaged career highs in points (10.4) and rebounds (7.6) in 2008-2009. He was selected to the Conference USA All-Tournament Team and led his team in rebounding and free throw percentage, while ranking second in field goal percentage and blocks. As a sophomore, Taggart played in six NCAA Tournament games and helped his team reach the NCAA Championship Game.

Juwann James is ranked third in JMU history in free throw attempts (491), fourth in steals (134), seventh in scoring (1,456 points), eighth in rebounds (639) and tenth in free throws made (264). In 2008-2009, he was named Second Team All-CAA while averaging 14.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.

Bobcats Head Coach Larry Brown

(On Tyler Hansbrough)
He’ll be fine as a pro. Anybody that plays every play and competes every possession like he does is going to be successful. If you have your motor running and you have a work ethic, I don’t think you can ever not be successful.

(On staying in college for four years as opposed to coming out early)
It depends, but I think it always helps. If you play in a real solid program and you’ve been really well coached, the transition is much easier. Being 22 and 18 or 19 is a being difference, physically and emotionally. Not every kid is the same way and not everybody graduating college is mature enough to play in our league. You certainly have a better chance of making the adjustment if you stay (in college). The guys that I have seen that have been in programs for four years have a tendency to be better prepared, and they generally go to teams that have won.

(On Ben McCauley)
He was really skilled, really sound fundamentally and a little better athlete than I thought. He knows how to play. I think he’ll be playing somewhere.

(On how Hansbrough would fit with the Bobcats)
He’ll be fine anywhere. I think we all admire kids that have their motors running and compete in practice. Every day that he comes to practice, he is going to elevate our practices. He is going to get better. I don’t think he’s even gotten close to where he can be. We need athleticism and size, so I’m sure we’ll look at him very carefully.

Tyler Hansbrough • 6-9 • 250 lbs. • Forward • North Carolina • Senior

Tyler Hansbrough Workout Video | Hansbrough Prospect Profile

(On today’s workout)
It was a little different. They try to teach you a little more here. They were helpful, but it is kind of a waiting process. You just have to wait and see what happens.

(On what he would bring to the Bobcats)
What I will bring to the team is that I am a strong defensive player, I get a lot of rebounds, I attack the rim hard and I get to the free throw line. I’ve been a part of winning programs ever since I’ve been playing basketball. I’d like to come here and bring a little bit of that over.

(On his other workouts)
I’ve worked out for New Orleans, Chicago and Detroit. I have Utah on Monday and Portland and Indiana coming up.

(On staying in college for four years)
For me, it was different. I loved college and I got a National Championship, so I felt like I benefited a lot. A lot of guys aren’t as fortunate and don’t get to go to programs like North Carolina and be part of success.

(On his work ethic)
I don’t think any team is going to draft me to be a practice player. There is a lot more to me than just being someone that works hard, I can do a lot of different things. I think my skills get overlooked because people have dubbed me as a hard worker, but I’ve proven myself and expanded my game a lot.

Taj Gibson • 6-9 • 225 lbs. • Forward • USC • Junior

Taj Gibson and Ahmad Nivins Workout Video

(On the workout)
It was what I expected. Larry Brown is a good coach and I got a lot of new feedback from him on how to play the game even better.

(On his other workouts)
I had about eight other workouts. I liked this the most because he talked about different plays and different aspects of the game.

(On Coach Brown’s coaching during the workout)
I enjoy the teaching, because in this process, nobody really tells you much. He talked to us about the game and what he expects from his players. It helps us develop our game and focus on the things we need to work on for the future.

(On what he has heard from his other workouts)
I’m hearing a lot of good feedback. Coaches like my athleticism, my quickness down the court and my defense. They are saying I need to put on a little bit more weight because the NBA game is more physical.

Ahmad Nivins • 6-9 • 242 lbs. • Forward • St. Joseph's • Senior

Taj Gibson and Ahmad Nivins Workout Video

(On today’s workout)
I thought it went very well. It was interesting because Coach Brown did a lot of teaching today instead of just running us into the ground with drills. It was a great workout all around. I think guys really got better today.

(On his other workouts)
This is my fourth one. I’ve been to Boston, Indiana, and Minnesota, and I fly to Milwaukee tonight.

(On how this workout compared to his others)
It compared in the sense that guys were going at each other and just trying to get better. It was definitely different because there was more teaching as opposed to just competition.

(On his strengths)
Athleticism is something that I pride myself on and something that I am looking to improve on, among other things. I think I am a high-energy guy and I can have a real impact in a positive way.

Ben McCauley • 6-9 • 237 lbs. • Forward • North Carolina State • Senior

Ben McCauley Workout Video

(On today’s workout)
It went well, I enjoyed it. It was my first workout, so it was a new experience for me coming out of college, but it was fun. I learned a lot and I thought that it was really informative. Coach Brown really taught us a lot today and I think that was probably the coolest part about it.

(On the competitiveness of the workout)
It was definitely a physical workout. Going up against (Hansbrough) that I went against for four years definitely brought back some memories. There was a lot of good talent out here, and these guys are going to be very successful in their future.

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