WICHITA FALLS, TX - Last season, a real weakness for Midwestern State men's basketball was perimeter shooting. Outside of Bretson McNeal, they struggled to hit threes.
This year, they have a few players heating it up from outside, even if they don't *all* have the prettiest-looking shot.
Hershell Grant's jumper isn't exactly textbook.
"Every school I went to, they tried to change my shot," he said.
But it's working this year. He's shooting 39.6% from downtown in 2015-16, after making just 17% last year.
"[Last year], when my time would come, I'd be sorta nervous, you know, to shoot," he said. "Because I'd think I'd shoot it too hard, or that I'd completely miss it. But this year, I kinda just go back to what I practiced on in the gym. Keeping my follow-through straight, and just trying to make the shot."
So, how did he get that funky shot in the first place?
"Ever since I was younger, I kinda like put the ball in my chest and kinda heave it up there, because it just felt natural," Grant explained. "Nobody ever taught me to put the ball over my head and try to shoot it."
There's also a leg-kick you don't see every day.
"It just started happening, once I got to [junior college], because I guess I tried to get so low, and then when I jump, my legs just come with me," Grant said.
Over the years, coaches tried to change his shot...
"First, when I went to Gwynn Park (in Maryland, just outside Washington DC), my coach tried to change it from coming from my chest, to like kinda getting it over top of my head," Grant said. "But that didn't work because I'd just throw the ball at the backboard."
But his coaches at Midwestern have mostly let him be.
"He doesn't have the perfect form," admits head coach Nelson Haggerty. "But there are a lot of great shooters, right? Reggie Miller didn't have great form. His elbow was way out, and there's a bunch of other guys that, through repetition, they figured out how to shoot."
What makes it even more surprising that he has such an unusual shot, is he grew up with an NBA pedigree. His father's twin brothers are Horace and Harvey Grant, he has two cousins (Jerian and Jerami) currently in the NBA, and another (Jerai) playing overseas.
"I never really got to watch any of [his uncles'] games," Hershell said. "I usually just played with them on the video games, and that was just kinda
cool to me, just to see my uncle in a game."
"You know, when you have family members that have reached that pinnacle, you have an innate belief that you can do it as well," coach Haggerty said.
"So he's got a high confidence in himself, and in his abilities, and it's paying off for us this season."
Hopefully he keeps draining those threes this weekend, at the South Central Regional.
South Central Regional Schedule
Quarterfinals - Saturday
(3) Angelo State vs (6) Arkansas-Ft. Smith: 12 pm
(2) Fort Lewis (CO) vs (7) Dallas Baptist: 2:30 pm
(1) Midwestern State vs (8) Lubbock Christian: 6 pm
(4) Tarleton State vs (5) Colorado Mines: 8:30 pm
Semifinals - Sunday
ASU/UAFS winner vs FLC/DBU winner: 4:30 pm
MSU/LCU winner vs TSU/CSM winner: 7 pm
Championship - Tuesday
Semifinals winners: 7 pm