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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Appalachian State center’s comically bad free throw attempt may be worst ever

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

In an era of bombastic commentary and breathless hyperbole in sports media, words like "great," "legendary" or "catastrophic" are often thrown around a bit too carelessly.

Still, it may not be overstating things to call this free throw from Appalachian State reserve center Brian Okam the worst ever attempted.

With 11:07 left in the second half of Saturday afternoon's game between the Mountaineers and Western Carolina, Okam attempted the second of two foul shots to try to extend his team's lead to 10. Perhaps the ball slipped out of his hand, but it sailed high in the air and fell in the arms of a teammate about 10 feet short of the rim, leaving the Western Carolina TV analyst calling the game in such shock he aptly exclaimed, "I'm not sure what that was. Good lord."

It's difficult to explain exactly how Okam missed the free throw that badly because he was not asked about it by reporters after the game. A message left for Appalachian State coach Jason Capel on Sunday was not immediately returned.

Okam, a Rutgers transfer averaging 2.0 points and 2.0 rebounds per game, seldom reaches the foul line. Prior to going 1 of 4 on free throws against Western Carolina, he was just 3 of 5 from the foul line in his two-year Appalachian State career.

About the only missed free throw in recent memory that rivals Okam's comical blunder was one attempted by Kansas sharpshooter Brady Morningstar against Texas late in the 2009-10 season. An off-balance Morningstar double-clutched his foul shot while tripping forward into the paint, essentially the basketball equivalent of a bad toss on a tennis serve.

"I looked pretty stupid there," Morningstar said after that game. "We laughed about it in the locker room just now."

It was probably harder for Okam to laugh about his gaffe. The miss sparked the late run that propelled Western Carolina to a 70-64 victory.

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