Brady Morningstar’s high school coach at Free State, Jack Schreiner, has a good laugh when he thinks back to his former star player coming into the gymnasium all fired up, convinced he finally had found the perfect jump shot.
“Yeah,” Morningstar confirmed. “I wasn’t the strongest guy out there. I was a little scrawny white boy, so I was hitching on my jump shot and my set shot would come off too slow.”
Morningstar would wear out the Shoot-Away in practice.
“I was trying to figure out who I should shoot like,” Morningstar said. “Obviously, you’ve got to have your own shot, but you know, sometimes I’d have a high arc, sometimes I wouldn’t. Each week, I’d just try to perfect my shot. I was young and immature and I wanted to look like the guys on TV and shoot like them.”
Now Morningstar’s one of the guys on TV. And on YouTube. Nobody will imitate his YouTube moment in a game. Everybody imitates it on YouTube. The moment of course, is the hilarious, inept free-throw attempt against Texas last Feb. 8.
“Bloopers happen,” Morningstar said. “That was pretty funny. I don’t know how many hits it has on YouTube, a couple million or so, I think. I never in my lifetime thought I’d have a couple million hits on YouTube.”
Morningstar obviously doesn’t have the clip bookmarked and hasn’t been to it in quite a while. As of Thursday night, Morningstar’s free throw slip clip had been viewed 3,626,327 times. (Prepare to cringe because you have arrived at the point in the column where I desperately attempt to show I’m not only young, but also hip to Internet lingo.)
It’s gone viral. Think about that number: 3,626,327. That’s whack.
Anyway, Morningstar happens to be in a shooting slump that has lasted 12 games.
In the first 68 games of his KU career, the senior guard had a .431 overall shooting percentage and a .432 three-point accuracy rate. In the past 12 games he has shot .342 overall and .211 from long range. His free throw rate has dropped from .769 to .400.
The slump started the very next game after the Texas game. He shot better before he went viral. Just a coincidence?
“Yeah, I think so,” Morningstar said with a smile. “That has nothing to do with it.”
To the naked eye, his shot looks as if it has a hitch and a higher arc this year. When it comes to watching shooters, results can fool the eyes into thinking the process has changed when it really hasn’t. A guy who used to tinker as much with his shot as Morningstar did ought to be able to feel if it’s different. The trained eyes of coaches would catch any differences.
“I don’t think it’s different and I haven’t heard it’s any different,” he said. “It’s just not going in as much right now. I’m not worried about it. Shooters go through slumps. They feel good. They’re in rhythm. All my mechanics feel good. They’re just not falling.”
Morningstar has attempted all of 18 three-pointers during his slump. Xavier Henry hoisted 49 shots during a nine-game, .265 three-point shooting slump last season.
Look for Brady to nail slump-busters as soon as tonight against North Texas.