Ryan Evans' options were limited.
The Wisconsin senior, normally an average free throw shooter, was struggling mightily at the foul line this year. After connecting on 72.6 percent of his free throws last year, Evans had slipped to around 40 percent late this season.
With his past percentages Evans had proven his mechanics were sound, so there wasn't much to fix there. Plus it was too late in the season, and his career at Wisconsin, to mess with Evans' motion. So Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan gave Evans three options.
“Well, it was A, B, or C,” Ryan told reporters over the weekend. “'A' was the jump shot, the Hal Greer way. 'B' was the Globetrotter, kick the ball in. And third was underhand. Ryan chose 'A.' He's okay with it. His numbers are up."
Hal Greer was a guard who played for the 76ers right around the time Ryan was growing up in Philadelphia. The future Hall of Famer was so confident in his smooth jump shot that he decided to shoot jumpers from the line. And it worked magnificently, as Greer made about 80 percent of his free throws during his career.
While Evans' new stroke is mighty weird, it has actually improved his numbers. Evans shot 6-for-11 from the line in three games at the Big Ten Tournament.
"I'm a lot more confident going up to the line," Evans said. "It’s a lot better feeling than I was having early in the season. It was something that was on my mind day in and day out. I don’t think about free throws throughout the day anymore. I just go up there and try to knock them down."
Indeed, sometimes the most bizarre free throw motions are also the most successful.