What is the strangest thing you have seen today? Got that image in your head? Good, now forget it. When it comes to basketball, nothing is really weirder than seeing a player shoot free throws underhanded.
Louisville sophomore center Chinanu Onuaku does exactly that, but what’s weirder…it works.
According to College Basketball Talk, Onuaku, who is currently awaiting to see if he made the final cut for the USA Basketball U-19 team, has been trying to perfect his craft at the free throw line. He shot just 46 percent from the free throw line last season and he has decided to change up his shot at the charity stripe.
The Colorado Springs Gazette reports:
Toward the end of the season – prior to the NCAA Tournament – the Cardinals’ coach, Rick Pitino, showed Onauku a video of NBA hall of famer Rick Barry. Barry, who lives in Colorado Springs, made nearly 90 percent of his free throws in his professional career while shooting underhanded.
“He’s sacrificing the way it looks for the result,” U19 coach Sean Miller said of Onauku. “It says a lot about him.”
Though he began practicing the form before his freshman season ended, Onauku didn’t use the underhand style in a Louisville game. […] While he doesn’t know what percentage he’s shooting underhanded, Onauku said it’s an improvement from how often he scored overhand.
Maybe shooting free throws underhanded is truly just a ploy for other teams in the ACC to play “Hack-a-Shaq”, intentionally fouling a bad free throw shooter, just to show them that has gotten a lot better at shooting free throw. No matter how Onauku shoots his free throws, the only thing that matters is if they go in or not.