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Behind the Whistle: Free Throw Champion
Written by John Howell, OVAC Basketball Commissioner   
Wednesday, January 16, 2013 9:52 PM

Submitted by: John Howell,

OVAC Basketball Commissioner

We are now well into basketball season and unlike previous seasons I haven’t heard as many questions about high school basketball rules as in the past so I will supply you with something I find quite fascinating.

Most kids grow up fantasizing about scoring the winning touchdown, making the basket to win the game, hitting a home run in the bottom of the ninth to win the world series or the one I experienced, stepping to the foul line to win the game with no time left and no one else lined up. What if you stepped to the line knowing you needed to make fifty, yes 50 free throws in a row to win and if you missed one, just one, you come back next year. You probably wouldn’t mind if you were someone that could toe the line at most any time and make 100 straight free throws or 50 3-point shots in a row. That’s without a miss. I realize that during these shots there would be no one playing defense but you don’t often hear of a golfer or a bowler making 100 consecutive fifteen foot putts or stringing together the same number of pin clearing strikes, and no one would be guarding them either.

I have met someone that can twirl this magic with a basketball but I must admit that I have seen him miss. Once. This amazing person, a Wheeling High graduate and former guard on the basketball team, is a multiple time world champion traveling throughout the country throwing down shot after shot with thousands of spectators and other competitors just waiting for him to miss. Just imagine the pressure knowing you can’t afford to miss just one or you lose, you step to the line knowing that you have to be perfect just to make a shoot-off. I have been entertained watching him make shot after shot with most hitting nothing but net. When most people talk about free throw shooting the first thing they tell you is to concentrate but this gentleman has mastered his shooting mechanics so well that he not only makes nearly every shot he takes, he tabulates his shooting statistics while he is shooting. Many people would have a problem just keeping mental count when someone else was shooting. These shooting stats are all recorded in a book after the days workout has finished.