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January 10, 2014

Martin: free throws a mindset

One starter (Brent Williams) hasn't missed a free throw all year in 30 attempts, another starter (Demetrius Henry) is shooting .190 (4-for-21).

They're about as far apart as possible, and they beg the question of Frank Martin as to how one player be so good, another so bad at a shot considered the easiest in the game.

"We practice free throws," Martin said. "I go places and speak, and you always have people come up and say 'Coach, why can't so-and-so not shoot free throws? How is somebody not helping him?' I laugh, because what do you think, we don't talk about it? "

Martin says contrary to the notion that the free throw is the game's easiest shot, it's one of basketball's most difficult when you stop and think about it.

"That whole deal where you shoot a hundred free throws, that's nice, but when do you shoot a hundred free throws in a game?," Martin said. "You run, nonstop, and everything you do is under duress. Every shot, every pass, every dribble you're running, you're sprinting, you're taking a charge, you're getting up, you're diving on a ball, and all of a sudden the game stops.

"Now everything you do for two free throws or one-and-one or whatever, it's the only shot in the game where it's not under duress. It's in the mind, and you have to train the mind for that. So we try to put our guys in those situations in practice.

"I never dwell, I never speak about missing free throws. The only time I might even speak about missing a free throw is if we're down three and we have to make the first and miss the second. Outside of that, I'm big on putting everyone in those situations where they have to shoot game free throws. We do make them shoot 100 free throws after practice, but it's a mindset."

Martin said overall he's pleased with where his team is from the charity stripe, shooting .686 overall and, of course, boasting the current school record-holder for consecutive free throws made.

"Outside of (Williams), we've had great runs of free throw shooting and we've had a couple games where we've clanked them up there," Martin said. "I think that's the mentality, with so many freshman, they can be so high and low on the emotion of a play and it allows that to impact them.

"Demetrius makes them in practice, he's just struggling in games right now. He'll come around."



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