There must be something special about the mid-court stripe at the University of Virginia’s John Paul Jones Arena that gives ordinary students incredible athletic prowess. How else would one explain the freakish ability Cavaliers fans have channeled when it comes to sinking 47-foot shots on ESPN’s College GameDay?
The bottom of the net has been found on three different Virginia-based episodes: Tyler Lewis in 2015, Andrew Board in 2016, and Angus Binnie in 2018.
GameDay returns to Charlottesville on Saturday and the chosen shooter will have big shoes to fill as he/she tried to keep one of the weirdest streaks in sports alive.
While no one can guarantee greatness, ESPN production takes care to create drama and good television. Not just any ol’ person gets a clean look from midcourt. Complete lost causes tend to get weeded out.
Before the GameDay contest takes place, ESPN has several students fire up half-court shots in a JPJ practice gym, then picks the person they think has the best chance of making the shot. In the actual contest, the shooter has 18 seconds to make one.
For all Virginia’s recent basketball success, this may be the thing they should be most proud of. If a fourth heave finds its mark tomorrow, they should hang a banner un-ironically.