sportsFrom The World Of Parks & Recreation
By Doug Comer
Steve Nash, Ray Allen, Rick Barry and Larry Bird are NBA legends. They have collected many awards like Rookie of the year, Scoring Leader, Player of the Year and numerous NBA Championships during their tenure on the hardwood. While these current and former all-stars are multiple-statistical category players, they were almost perfect at the one shot in the game where you will never get guarded, the free throw line.
Nash, who is the all-time leader in percentage from the charity stripe at a 90.4%, leads both the NBA and the former ABA league in that category (Barry is the all-time leader in ABA history). Allen, who is currently looking for a home and has heard offers from Washington and possibly Cleveland is 5th while Bird is tenth on the list and holds a career FT percentage at 88.6%. So, you can gauge how good the Top-10 leaders are. To put it in simple terms, every 10 free throw attempts results in 9 made shots.
Michael Jordan scored over 7300 points from the free throws and is 86th on the list. West Virginia native and the NBA logo, Jerry West is 156th. To no surprise, Shaquille O’Neal did not crack the top 250.
Maybe some twenty-some years from now, we will revisit the NBA list and possibly see an athlete from this area atop the list of the all-time greats. And just maybe, the first award that child received will be a State Winner award from the Knights of Columbus free throw challenge.
The K of C, in cooperation with the Harrison County Parks and Recreation, developed the program back in 1972 and children from ages nine to 14 are eligible to participate. The event, which is hosted at a council, or local section, is free of charge to all participants and all roads lead to a state championship in March.
“We have been a part of the Free Throw Challenge for some time now, and the event has been not only a good competition, but an outlet for kids to compete in an event that normally is related to a team competition. It’s just the player, the ball and the basket,” related Director Mike Book.
Boys and Girls in their respective age brackets compete against one another. They have three warm up shots followed by 15 consecutive free throw attempts from the foul line. Crossing over the line or the ball hitting the backboard supports results in a missed attempt. In case of a tie, players will have five attempts (no warm up attempts) to determine the winner.
The event is scheduled for this Saturday, January 31st at the South Harrison Middle School, located on Rt. 270 between Lost Creek and West Milford. The event tips off at 3:00 p.m. and all participants are encouraged to show up early for pre-registration. Book expects a good turnout for this year’s event as he explains.
“There are so many activities going on in the area and we wanted to find a time that benefits all players who wish to participate. We contacted local Jerry West Leagues in Clarksburg and Bridgeport to check their schedules. In fact, South Harrison Middle site hosts the Clarksburg Jerry West League on the day of our event and we hope that players will stick around at the completion of play,” said Book.
For more information, please contact the Harrison County Parks and Recreation at 304 423-7800.