Andrew Tyler Hansbrough was born in November of 1985 and began going by his middle name of Tyler rather than his first name of Andrew at a young age. As a youth growing up in Poplar Bluff, Missouri (population 17,000) in the southeastern portion of the state near the Arkansas border Tyler showed tremendous basketball potential.
Long before Tyler was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in the first round (number 13 overall pick) of the 2009 NBA Draft and even before he set basketball records with the storied University of North Carolina (UNC) Tar Heels basketball program he honed his game in his small southern Missouri hometown where he was born and raised. As a star basketball player for the Poplar Bluff High School Mules Tyler led his team to back to back state championships.
Despite the relatively small size of the city of Poplar Bluff, Missouri the basketball program competes in the largest classifications in the state. This is largely because in spite of the small size of the city of Poplar Bluff with only one high school and students being drawn from the surrounding area there is still a sizable student body. As a junior and senior in high school Tyler led his school to back to back state championships in Class 5 in Missouri.
The championships for the 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 seasons were played and won in the Hearnes Center in 2004 and Mizzou Arena in 2005 on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO. The Hearnes Center opened in 1972 and served as the home court for the University of Missouri Tigers basketball teams until its closure in 2004. The brand new Mizzou arena replaced the Hearnes Center and opened in November of 2004. High school state championship basketball games in Missouri were played for years at the Hearnes Center and are now played at Mizzou Arena.
The state championship that Tyler won in March of 2005 was particularly noteworthy because he led his underdog team to a victory in the championship game against Vashon High School. Vashon High School is a dominant basketball school from St. Louis, Missouri that has won 11 boys basketball state championships. When the Poplar Bluff Mules, led by Tyler Hansbrough, squared off against the Vashon High School Wolverines in early 2005 for the state championship Vashon entered the game undefeated and as the number one ranked team in the nation.
For his efforts in high school basketball which included averaging over 28 points per game and more than 13 rebounds per contest as a senior Tyler was twice recognized as a first team All-State basketball player. The high school success that Hansbrough enjoyed provided him the opportunity to choose to play for any college basketball program that he wanted. The young man sorted through scholarship offers from storied programs like the University of Kentucky, University of Kansas, and Duke before ultimately deciding to play for Coach Roy Williams at the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.