Saturday, February 09, 2008

Charity Stripe

It's been a bad year for the tragic heroes who play ball for the University of Virginia, and they got handed another dispiriting loss today by Wake Forest. My brother went to see the game in Winston-Salem today. Prior to the game, I told him that he owed it to himself to study Ryan Pettinella's free-throw shot. He and I used to goof around as kids, imitating the free throw technique of our favorite ballers (he used to love to do Bill Cartwright), and I've long puzzled over how a kid could possibly make it to the ACC with a free-throw shot that looks like a some sort of broken puppet having an abortion. Not surprisingly, Pettinella's percentage from the line is somewhere in the 40's.

My brother said that Pettinella's terrible free throw shooting was on display again today. One shot barely whispered the front of the rim. Another missed the basket entirely, hitting the side of the backboard. At one point, Adrian Joseph ended up with the ball after a miss and just didn't know what the fuck to do with it. Best of all, though, is one occasion where the heroism of Sean Singletary - a great player closing out his career desperately trying to carry a team that offers him no help at all - was on full display: The refs called a foul underneath, and Sean strode to the line to take the shots even though he was nowhere near the foul. Pettinella, my brother said, literally hid. But the refs basically were like, "Nice try, Sean, but you can't take his shots." Oh, well. It's always worth the effort.

My brother, who works at a resort in Boone, NC - home of Appalachian State University - famously spent the summer before the now famous App. State - Michigan game antagonizing Wolverine fans who came to the resort by walking up to them and saying, "Are you nervous, yet? Are you scared? You should be." He's already started doing the same thing to LSU fans.

1 comment:

PK said...

Pet's free-throw shooting is the stuff of legend. And here's the kicker (TV announcers were talking about it during another game): Apparently, at Penn during his freshman year (he's a transfer), the guy was a 64% free throw shooter. Which, if you've seen his shot, seems impossible.

The only thing I can think of is that he's had a stroke that only affected the free-throw-shooting part of his brain.

(On display in the same game: Ish Smith, Wake's excellent point guard, who is somehow a 40% 3-point shooter and a 35% free-throw shooter, despite not having Pett's, um, unusual form.)