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Hansbrough stays at UNC

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

There was great news for college basketball recently.

In this day and age where so many underclassmen enter the draft, whether it is Michael Beasley, Derrick Rose or OJ Mayo, it is nice to see Tyler Hansbrough returning to Chapel Hill.

I understand when guys like Beasley, Rose and Mayo come out because they become instant millionaires with the stroke of a pen.

Tar Heel fans had to be thrilled to have Hansbrough return for his senior season. It is rare for the Player of the Year to go to school all four years. Hansbrough won every award possible and now he can become the all-time leading scorer at North Carolina. That honor currently belongs to former All-America guard Phil Ford, who was sensational as a point guard for Dean Smith. Hansbrough is just 122 points behind Ford for the school record.

Hansbrough also has a chance to pass J.J. Redick to become the all-time leading scorer in ACC play. The magic number is 2,769 points for Redick and if Hansbrough matches last year's production, he will shatter the ACC mark.

This decision is a great win for Roy Williams, the Tar Heel fans and for the sport of college basketball. Hansbrough has such an incredible work ethic and passion for the sport. He is truly proud of the name of the front of his jersey.

In my 29 years of covering games for ESPN/ABC, I have not seen a player of that stature play as hard as he does on every possession.

It was also good to hear Hasheem Thabeet of Connecticut and UCLA's Darren Collison also opted to return to school, passing on the green of the NBA draft. Now we will wait to see which other players pull out of the draft and come back to their respective campuses for the 2008-09 campaign.

Congratulations to Hansbrough, to college basketball and everyone involved in the collegiate game. It is great to have him back.

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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