There's a Reason They Call Them Free Throws

As a young impressionable boy, I remember three things most about my high school basketball career:

1) Scoring a career-high 17 points on Senior Night when Estill Co. didn’t follow the extensive scouting report on me and decided to play 2-3 zone. I can only do one thing well in basketball; stand and shoot, and Estill Co. played right into my hands. By the way, over the course of my 4-year “career” I probably scored 17 points combined in all other games, so I still contribute to the Estill Co. alumni fund.

2) During a disastrous loss my junior year, coach was going to put me in for some classy scrub minutes. As you can image I was pretty pumped. Time to impress. We were already down by about 20, so I really couldn’t screw up. Well, so I thought. Coach came over to pull me into the game. I stood up and swiftly ripped off my button-up warm up pants. You know the ones that come off in one violent motion. I pulled my pants off triumphantly, and much to everyone’s surprise, my left hand literally punched my coach in the nose. That was the only time I’ve “punched” anybody or thought I was going to be killed. The bench completely lost their minds laughing out loud, which, well, didn’t help anything.

3) Finally, when University of Kentucky legend Kyle Macy came to one of our practices to teach us the art of free-throw shooting. Here’s why he came, from his Wikipedia entry no less: “Macy was an excellent free throw shooter throughout his career. He still holds the career free throw shooting percentage record at the University of Kentucky, as well as the Phoenix Suns franchise record. Macy emphasizes free throw shooting in his coaching, and the emphasis has paid off, as his Morehead State teams were perennially among the Division I leaders in free throw shooting percentage.” In 3 hours, he basically gave us his philosophy on winning basketball games: low turnovers and hitting free throws.
Why I’m I referencing a forgotten legend? Well, because I watched the North Carolina/Clemson men’s basketball game last night. I’ve been watching a lot of college basketball this year. I had seen North Carolina play twice against nobodies, so I was very excited to see them take on a solid team. Clemson was ranked 19th and their only loss came against an undefeated Ole Miss school.

I came away with a couple quick thoughts:

1) One of the better games I’ve seen in a long time
2) NC’s Ty Lawson is pretty much un-guardable when he wants to drive
3) NC’s Tyler Hansbrough was over-matched against two large post bodies
4) At about the 3:00 mark left in the second half I realized some guys named Ellington had 30 points for NC. Who is this guy? I kept hearing about the previous two guys and Green. Man, I really missed the boat on this guy
5) Clemson’s Terrence Oglesby doesn’t have a conscious. He was 1-8 on 3’s and shot some of them from a fictitious Rock N’ Jock line. I like confidence, but jeez some of those were ridiculous.
6) I am thoroughly convinced that Clemson would beat North Carolina 7 times out of 10 IF…drum roll……..they were a better free throw shooting team.

They hit 52% (14-27), while NC was at 80% (24-30). Clemson as a whole averages 65% as a team at the line. This is what we call a team that likes to throw games away. If they don’t straighten up, they’re likely to lose a lot of ACC games but not being able to close teams out. Here is my recommendation for March: Circle them in your bracket and promptly have them getting beat by Fairleigh-Dickinson. Gotta hit your free throws fellas. If Kyle Macy coached Clemson, you would be looking at a Final Four team.


Court said...

You got to get those freebies. E. Ross

Sean's Wife said...

Sean understands the importance of this...in fact he shoots 10 free throws a day and keeps a log in his work out journal! So when he gets his chance to help out his Bruins in a last minute roster change he will be ready! Props to you Sean!