UNC’s star sophomore Tyler Hansbrough was profiled yesterday in the New York Times, a story that concentrated on UNC’s recent loss to Gonzaga, and struggles against Winthrop.

It didn’t paint the rosiest picture of the budding power forward prospect.

Roy Williams said his players — 11 of them are underclassmen — were “not country bumpkins.” Yet at this early stage of the long season, there might be something about Hansbrough and the other young Tar Heels that even strangers sense.

Hansbrough and Bobby Frasor, a sophomore guard, told of walking through Times Square on their first night here. Hansbrough said he was gawking at the buildings and at the guy who stands around holding a guitar and wearing a cowboy hat, boots, his undershorts and not much else.

“I’m kind of blown away by the size of the city,” Hansbrough said. “I’m used to fields and trees.”

The group of players next happened upon two opinionated fellows sitting in a car who checked out their Carolina clothing before offering a Manhattan welcome.

“Go back to Carolina,” the men advised them, according to Frasor. “This is New York.” Frasor said the men persisted in “talking trash.” Although the players outnumbered their hecklers by 10-2, Frasor said: “We were still kind of scared. We kept walking. We didn’t want to get in any scuffling with some New York people.”

Speaking of the Garden the day before the game, Hansbrough said: “It’s got a lot of tradition. Not a lot of people can say they played at the Garden. It’s something that you definitely can talk about later.”

So much for walking the walk and talking the talk.