(More) thoughts on the shot taken

Strange in a way to read in the current ESPN The Magazine a redux of the 16.8 seconds about which I wrote 40,000 words. My first thought, when I looked at the double-truck spread, and of course this is silly -- but my first thought was: But that’s OUR moment.

So you’ve got the comments from Kansas assistant Joe Dooley and you’ve got the comments from Stephen, and they’re short and simple and unavoidably revisionist just due to the passage of time if nothing else. And you’ve got the comments from McKillop in the part of the companion story about final possessions, which had additional comments from Stephen, which conspicuously had no comments from Jason. And anyway there are any number of things that could be said about it.

For now, though, I want to key in on just one part. Cue Stephen:

“I got a good ball fake in, and Rush really bit on it. But Jason’s defender [Sherron Collins] got a late break when Jason came back up the sideline, and he ended up in the perfect place at the perfect time to pick me up.”

Here’s what Steve Rodgers said on the resulting thread over on DavidsonCats.com:

The mistake JR made was coming towards the ball (Curry) when it looked like Curry might not get his shot off. It was instincitve, that’s what JR always did to get the ball back and restart the offense. When JR came towards Curry, Curry had pump fake his guy but JR’s man was now close enough to Curry to disrupt Curry’s shot. This left JR open but everyone, including JR would rather have had Curry take the shot.

That’s what I saw.

s what he saw because thats what happened.

From the book:

Jason was in the right corner. He watched Stephen stop going to his left and turn and start heading to his right and toward Thomas' second screen near the top of the key.

Six seconds.

Jason watched Chalmers duck past Thomas and chase Stephen, and he watched Rush get up off the floor and start chasing Stephen, too.

Five seconds.

Jason decided he had to move, because he didn’t want this game to end with him just standing there, and if he stayed in the corner he would be doing nothing. He didn’t want to be watching.

He wanted to help.

You could stop there. Or ...

Jason started running toward Stephen.

Four seconds.

Stephen pump-faked and Rush jumped up and off to the side. Maybe here was a sliver of an opening for a shot. But Jason
s defender was running after Jason and left him now and bolted toward Stephen. He had his arms straight up.

The opening closed.

Do you want to end on help? Or do you want to end on closed? That moment within that moment always has been difficult to parse.
I wrote it the way I wrote it because of what I knew and I knew what I knew because of the reporting I’d done. The reader as always can and should think whatever he or she wants to think.

In any event I like what Eddie wrote on the board:

I get the feeling JRich thinks we dont complain about the missed shot because we're just being nice or something. Thats not true. We dont complain about the missed shot because there isnt a soul among us who thinks he is to blame for anything. What we remember, as we should, is that hes a huge reason why we were there ...

It’s like William said so beautifully early in the week right after: ... in that moment, we had in our hearts and minds, proleptically I think the theologians would say, the joy of having it go in. Before it was not in, it was as good as in. For that fraction of a second, we had that experience, and it is enough. It is well worth the journey. At least for me it is, and I guess the ultimate point of this too-long post is that I hope it is also worth it for Jason. He took the shot. He gave us that moment. He trusted, and all we can do is be sure our reaction is worthy of that trust.

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