The underhand free throw has come to high school basketball, too.
Noah Giacomantonio of Linden (Mich.) said he was struggling with traditional free throws and decided to try one underhanded at practice about two weeks before the district championships.
“One day got frustrated and decided to shoot one underhanded,” Giacomantonio told USA TODAY High School Sports. “It went in and felt really smooth so I kept practicing it until the end of the regular season. On average, I practice them for about 30 minutes a day after practice. I asked my coach if I could make the switch and he allowed me to shoot it.”
Giacomantonio said his free throw percentage increased about 33% in districts. Linden ended up winning and so he planned to keep shooting that way but the team lost to Stoney Creek (Rochester Hills) in the regional semifinals.
“Just from messing around with it and making it, ultimately that guided me to make the switch permanently,” he said.
The underhanded free throw has gotten more attention thanks to Florida’s Canyon Barry, the son of Hall of Famer Rick Barry. The younger Barry was featured in a Snapchat story on the first day of the NCAA Tournament, one aptly called Granny Style.
In three seasons at the College of Charleston, Barry made 76.5% of his free throws with the shot his father perfected to make 89.3% of his free throws during the 1960s and 1970s.
“I have been taking inspiration from Canyon Barry and his father,” Giacomantonio said. “I have studied their techniques from YouTube and have made adjustments to my form to be more comfortable for me.”
Contributing: Rachel Axon, USA TODAY Sports