Archive | August 2013

Local Boy Makes Good


The Albany Times Union ran this piece earlier in the year on Brian O’Neill’s quest to perfect the Art of the Free throw:

Reviving a lost art at the line


                Updated 6:58 am, Sunday, January 20, 2013

You could say Brian O’Neill might as well be practicing penmanship, because free-throw shooting is as much a lost art as the proper slant on a capital “R.”

O’Neill saw for himself six years ago, when one evening he went to a high school basketball game and watched a team miss every free throw in the first half. By the second half, he was averting his eyes, turning completely around, for every trip to the line.

“I have to do something about this,” he thought.

So he started practicing, to the tune of 300 to 800 free throws a day, at least twice a week. He tracked every shot – now 180,000 and counting – in his notebook and watched his percentage grow and grow. On his best day, he made 492 out of 500.

He also found that even if our SportsCenter culture favors no-look passes and alley-oop dunks, there’s a sweet satisfaction to the swish of a perfect free throw, a symmetry to the way the ball will bounce once below the net, then spin back toward the line, into the hands of the shooter.

It’s a lost art O’Neill wants to help young players rediscover. And I wanted to learn.

Read the rest of the story here.