Kansas basketball practice hadn’t started yet Tuesday afternoon, so it was time to have a little fun. Generally speaking, men need to turn just about everything into a competition to enjoy themselves.
For example, KU preseason All-American Cole Aldrich, administrative assistant Brennan Bechard, student video coordinator Douglas Compton and manager Reid Elsen were hanging out on the floor when Aldrich said he thought he could be the first one to make a half-court shot.
After an estimated five rounds of misses, Aldrich, an under-handed half-court tosser, made one.
“Cole’s all happy because he thinks he had won, but everyone gets a chance to tie,” said Bechard, a former Lawrence High basketball player and KU walk-on. “I went second, and when I made it, that was funny because that was two guys, and that was a pretty crazy deal.”
It was about to get a lot crazier. Compton, a freshman who played at Free State High, went next.
“I turned to C.J. (Henry) and said, ‘I’ve got to make this one. I’ve got to make it somehow.’ Then I made it and everyone was in shock,” Compton said. “Cheddar (Bill Cowgill), the trainer, was going crazy. (Walk-on) Jordan Juenemann was going crazy. Jeff Forbes (who films practices) was up there pumping his fist, pointing to his camera to let us know he had it on tape.”
Three in a row. Unbelievable. They weren’t done. Elsen, a junior who was in the Bishop Carroll High basketball program in Wichita for three years, had a chance to extend the streak.
“We do it quite a bit,” Elsen said of the competition. “We all just shoot to see who can make one first. We’ve never made two in a row that I can remember.”
Now Elsen would try to make it four in a row.
“I was the last one,” Elsen said. “It was all on me.”
Elsen didn’t disappoint. Four in a row it was. Fish story?
Forbes, who recently finished his masters in sports administration and is working on a doctorate, filmed it. Something made him hit the record button on the camera. He then put it up on Youtube.com, where it can be accessed by typing, “mid-court mayhem Cole Aldrich”.
“I just thought it looked like a good opportunity,” Forbes said. “I haven’t filmed them doing that before, but I’m going to from now on.”
None of the shots hit the backboard. Aldrich was the only one to toss his one-handed, under-handed. The other three used a more conventional style, getting a running start of two or three steps then lofting a shot. In a real game, traveling would have been called on those three.
“NBA, no,” Compton corrected. “College, yes.”
This farfetched, four-in-a-row feat is bound to make national news somewhere, some day.
“SportsCenter has their little clips of stuff like that happening,” Bechard said. “It’d be cool to see it on there.”
Said Aldrich: “I’ve been out there for a half hour and not even made one. Or I’ll get out there and hit the first one. It’s tough. It’s really tough. To get four in a row from four different people is quite pretty cool. That’s why we went crazy when we did it.”
There was no college football referee there to see them celebrating, so no flag was thrown.