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Saturday, Apr. 25, 2015

A closer look at free throw shooting

Posted Friday, December 16, 2011, at 11:32 PM

Any body from the old school, myself definitely included, appreciates the fundamentals of "The greatest game ever invented." That line of course being from the movie Hoosiers, and the character Shooter, played by Dennis Hopper.

And there is nothing more fundamental in hoops than free throws.

As we do our weekly stats for basketball, the free throw stat is the one that probably fascinates myself more than scoring.

As I look at the early season returns, there are only 10 players that are shooting at least 80 percent from the 15-foot line.

All but one of those are starting players at the current time for their respective teams.

If you are including players shooting at least 70 percent, there still are just 13 players that are making at least 7 of 10 at the charity stripe.

Bryce McGlothin, a guard that has moved into the starting line-up for Matt Britton's Bloomfield Cardinals, has made 6 of 7 for an .857 clip. We do not discriminate by number of attempts, but one player last week was perfect, but dropped to 40 percent. It's still very early.

Jackson Bohnert has only missed twice in 13 attempts, unofficially. That equates to 84.6 percent for the Linton-Stockton forward.

Austin Karazsia, the junior center for the Miners, has been impressive on the court as well so far. He leads the team in scoring at 18 points per game and shoots at an .842 clip (16 of 19).

Miles Hutchison, one of a handful of Eastern Greene players being thrust from being a reserve into a starting role this season, has missed just two times in 12 attempts at the foul line, good for 83.3 percent.

White River Valley point guard Cade Hill is tied for second for the most free throws attempted by any area player (29). He has made 24, which works out to 82.8 percent.

Curtis Hasler has been shooting almost four free throw attempts per game while making over three on average, one of the reasons he is scoring in double digits for the Cardinals.

He connected on 19 of 23 for 82.6 percent in six games.

Shakamak's leading scorer Brock Dowell has the identical numbers -- 19 of 23 -- but the Lakers have played just games.

Dowell made seven free throws in overtime to help the Lakers hold off Union last weekend.

Shakamak teammate Brodie Crowe doesn't have nearly as many attempts, but has cashed in at the line at an .818 clip. The Laker forward, who scored a career-high 30 points against Union, has made 9 of 11 free throws to date.

John Ashcraft has made 20 of 25 attempts at the charity stripe for White River Valley. My dad, who served as my elementary school math teacher (I could see flash cards in my sleep) would be ashamed of me if I could not look at 20-for-25 and tell you that is 80 percent.

When I am figuring and typing in stats weekly, I often think of my dad, who always said he didn't do badly for a guy with a fourth grade education. He could do math configurations that I could not even begin to comprehend.

I once got a calculator and told him about it. His reply was, "What do you need that for."

I can still tell you that 3 of 8 would be .375. I am also great at reading a tape measure.

Now back to the countdown.

Justin Barrett of WRV has shot 80 percent with a very limited sample (4 of 5).

Eastern Greene standout JT Yoho is like a lot of good scorers -- they maximize their chances at the foul line.

Yoho also has attempted 29 freebies, making 23. That is good for 79.3 percent, a big part of his 21-plus scoring average.

Tyler Talpas, who leads the area in scoring at 26.7 ppg, is another example of a player making hay at the foul line. He has attempted by far the most foul shots (57) and made 43. That is good for a 75.4 percent clip in eight games, by far the most games anybody has played in the area.

But that is still over seven attempts at the line per game and over five made.

Kyle Doane, another double figure scorer for BHS, shoots at .706. He has made 13 of 17.

It seems easy to step to the line -- unguarded -- and make shots from 15 feet. Believe me, it is harder than it looks.

I don't know if it boils down to practice, hard work or technique, or all three. Wilt Chamberlain, one of the greatest scorers of all-time, couldn't shoot a lick from the line. But he did make 28 of 32 on the night he scored 100 points for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Maybe it is just as simple as some people can shoot and some can't. Who really knows for sure?

B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext 12 or hargisbj@gmail.com.

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