Friday, October 24, 2008

Now Holding Open Tryouts...

This is truly the American Dream. Matt Williams, a transfer from D-II Tarleton State, finds himself as the new placekicker (of PATs) for the #8 Texas Tech Red Raiders. How did this do-little make his way from the bowels of D-II (as a walk-on, mind you) to the PAT duties for the Red Raiders? By winning a ridiculous half-time contest, of course!

Why spend years getting picked on in junior high and high school for being a kicker when you can score your spot on a Top-10, D-I nationally known football team by simply winning the absurd, hi-mom, Dr. Pepper Half-Time Field Goal Contest! The Raiders kicking game was in shambles, having missed PATs and field goals. Rather than hold try-outs and scrape for walk-ons, look no further than last week's field goal contest winner. At this point, Williams is 5 for 5 on PATs as the Raiders pound Kansas. This is truly a story of hope, struggle and the American spirit... or something.

In light of Williams' success, I find myself wondering about a similar situation for our Memphis Tigers. For a team that is so successful offensively, we have been plagued by poor free throw shooting. Flashbacks of DWash and CDR take me to razor's edge, but it doesn't have to be this way.

I'm reminded of a basketball clinic I went to years ago. A 60-something year old fellow came in for a little presentation. He was supposedly the free throw record holder at the time. We were all pumped to learn the secret of free throw shooting. The old fella rolled over a rack of basketballs, lined up, and began to teach us how to shoot a free throw. The man was not Rick Barry. In fact, I don't remember the guy's name, but he could make some free throws. Needless to say, a bunch of 12-year olds were less than impressed.

Since that time, I began following the Tigers. I now understand the importance of consistent free throw shooting. That's why I'm proposing that the Tigers hold a contest of their own! Find the greatest free throw shooters in the city, have them walk on the team, and run isolation plays for them at the end of close games. Set some screens, throw some bows, whatever it takes. Even if it takes someone finding that old cronie from my basketball past so he could sink a few free throws, it needs to be done. Maybe Pepsi could sponsor it?


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