THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
- What can UofL women's basketball team get better at?
- Hiya, Mariya !!
- MHA knows how to play
So, what is there to expect and hope improvement on?
We'll bring up one. Free throws.
The act of free throw shooting is unique in the fast-paced game of basketball. You aren't being guarded. You have an un-obstructive view of the rim. The range isn't a prohibitive factor. The shot clock isn't running. So, why is it difficult for some players?
Louisville WBB is averaging .639 from the "charity stripe" this season through 12 games. Their opponents have shot .655 against the Cards. Jeff Walz likes a percentage over 70%...so his expectations haven't been met.
We aren't going to "call anyone out" on their efforts at the line by name. We will mention that Nita Slaughter, who's season is over, was at .636 for the season...so she was about average for the squad and her efforts are not listed below.
There are some very good foul line artist on this team. Three Cards average over 80% when attempting free throws. One is at 78%. One is at 67%...which leaves us hope that they're on the brink of achieving Jeff's goals.
Two Cards are in the 50% percent figures. Four are below that. An interesting stat is that of the five players with the most attempts...three of them are over 60%.
I remember from my non-descript playing days...a free throw shooter supreme. He averaged over 90% the three years I played with him.
He won a college fraternity contest by sinking 57 in a row. His other skills on the court weren't advanced enough to get him a scholarship to college, but the guy could cash in from the line.
So, I e-mailed him the other night. We've stayed in touch since those days. I asked him about what makes...what goes into a successful free throw shooter and shooting. These are his words:
" FREE THROW SHOOTING IS ABOUT TWO THINGS. CONCENTRATION AND MOTION. PRACTICE IS ALSO VERY IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT ENFORCES THESE THINGS. WHEN YOU RECEIVE THE BALL FROM THE REFEREE TO ATTEMPT A FREE THROW OR TWO, YOU NEED TO FOCUS ON THE MOMENT. CROWD NOISE OR MOVEMENT, FATIGUE, GAME SITUATION NEED TO BE BLOCKED OUT. YOU SET YOUR FOCUS ON THE TASK. IT'S LIKE PUTTING IN GOLF. YOU ZONE IN AND THEN GO INTO THE PROCESS. A SMOOTH, CONTROLLED MOTION OF TAKING THE BALL FROM YOUR DRIBBLE TO YOUR RELEASE. THE SAME EXACT, REPETITIVE MOTION EVERY TIME. LIKE YOU ARE ON A FACTORY LINE PUTTING A PART IN A PLACE. YOUR CREATE A RHYTHM THAT BECOMES AUTOMATIC. AFTER PRACTICE AND REPETITION IT IS A MUSCLE MEMORY KIND OF THING. YOU CREATE THE SAME ARC, FLIGHT AND RESULT. I ALWAYS CALLED IT CREATING THE FLOW. CONCENTRATION, FORM AND CONSISTENCY. IT ALWAYS WORKED FOR ME."
I responded to his e-mail with thanks and I also asked him if he still practiced the art. He responded this morning with:
" I'M PRETTY MUCH AN OLD, FAT MAN NOW AND DON'T DEVOTE THE TIME TO IT LIKE I USED TO. WE STILL HAVE A GOAL ON THE GARAGE IN THE DRIVEWAY, THOUGH AND I LIKE TO GOOF AROUND WITH MY GRANDSON SHOOTING HOOPS WHENEVER HE COMES OVER. IN 40 DEGREE WEATHER A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO, I HIT 12 IN A ROW. THEN I MISSED FIVE OUT OF THE FINAL EIGHT.
HONESTLY, I WAS GETTING TIRED. HE FOLLOWED ME AND DID ABOUT 50% OR SO OUT OF TWENTY. I'M STILL WORKING WITH HIM. HIS RELEASE IS TOO STIFF AND HE DOESN'T GET ENOUGH ARCH ON THE BALL. I'M PRETTY SURE THAT'LL IMPROVE WITH AGE...HE JUST TURNED 11."
2014 signee Mariya Moore is a gamer. Oh, yeah...
Here's a clip of some highlights sent to us by regular reader and commenter Doug A.
Go #4 GOOOO !!!!
Myisha Hines-Allen is also drawing a lot of love in New Jersey. Another 2014 UofL signee...she is the deal for the Montclair Mounties. Thanks to Gregg Lerner for the write up and our very own Jenny O'Bryan for the find.
Conference/Divison: Super Essex Conference/American Division
Last year: 17-11. The rigors of a division that features Shabazz, East Orange Campus and Mount St. Dominic can be taxing and left marks during the regular season but primed the Mounties for a post-season push that ended in the North Jersey, Section 1, Group 4 final with a loss to Paterson Eastide.
Top returning players: MYISHA HINES-ALLEN (Sr. G/F 6-1 22.6 ppg., 9.6 rpg., 1.7 bpg.); Kayla Jennings (Jr. PG 5-7 4.5 ppg., 3.4 apg.); Katie Higgins (So. G/F 5-11 5.2 ppg.).
Key newcomers: Alex Kerr (Jr. G/F 5-8); Jillian Jennings (Fr. PG 5-6); Bianca Muja (Jr. G 5-8).
Current college players: Kyra Hines-Allen (Cheyney University); Adayshia McKinnon (Rutgers-Newark).
Outlook: Bianca Brown is working with arguably the deepest squad she’s had in her three seasons at Montclair. While MYISHA HINES-ALLEN draws plenty of attention and rightfully so for a Louisville recruit, it will be those surrounding her that inevitably decide how far the Mounties go. Sisters Kayla and Jillian Jennings are coming off a highly-successful soccer campaign which they hope transcends to the court. The tenacious man-to-man defense Montclair employs brings out its finest traits: speed, length and aggressiveness.
Player to watch: You won’t need to be told who to watch. MYISHA HINES-ALLEN will get your undivided attention all on her own. A four-year starter who began her career playing away from the basket, HINES-ALLEN is a piercing penetrator and incredibly comfortable taking defenders off the bounce. Taking a charge against her drives is flirting with serious physical consequences considering her chiseled frame and determination to get to the rim. But, she is also a double-double machine, ripping down loads of rebounds, and quick from block to block to reject shots.
Missing ingredient: Montclair most likely spent the pre-season developing some perimeter presence. The 3-pointer has necessarily been an element of its offense with HINES-ALLEN'S 18 treys leading the team. Sophomore Katie Higgins may be a candidate to address the matter; she hit 10 3-pointers as a freshman.
Gregg Lerner covers girls basketball for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @gregglerner
- See more at: http://www.msgvarsity.com/new-jersey/girls-basketball-preview-montclair-1.1550912#sthash.WE3HN9ld.dpuf