Big shot jonny
I’ll always remember feeling sorry for the guy who was guarding Jonny.
It was a one point game, with just under a minute left and I was sitting on the edge of my seat watching Jonny dribble the ball at half court. I was not wondering IF he was going to make a winning play—I was wondering what winning play he was going to make.
Having guarded him every day in practice, I knew first hand that there’s really not much a defender can do when Jonny decides he is going to score. I remember backing off Jonny at times in practice, but he has one of the most deadly pull up games I have ever seen. I never had much success when I would get up in to him and crowd him, because he is so quick that he can drive right past about any defender. Trying to be physical is also fruitless, as he is creative enough to draw a foul and make the free throws. Our 'white squad' would even try to run two guys at him in practice, but he led the country in assists for a reason, and his vision always allowed him to find the open man. I could resonate with what a tough spot the defender was in.
On the first possession, Jonny decided to pull up from several feet behind the 3-point line and nailed it. It was one of the biggest shots I have ever seen! Then he came down on the next possession and hit a fade away from the baseline that was equally as tough, if not tougher, than the deep three.
The fans in the crowd may have been surprised by those shots, but the guys on the bench were not. We’ve seen Jonny make those shot so many times when he is the first one in the gym before practice. We’ve seen him make them when he comes back to the gym late in the evening. And we have seen him make them all season long when our team needed it late in close games. It’s all that practice that allows him to make it look so easy!
It was such a thrill to watch from the bench and see Jonny’s hard work pay off in those big moments. And it was an even bigger thrill that this time I wasn’t the guy on defense trying to figure out a way to stop it!