Okam reflects on embarrassing FT fail
by Tyler Norris Goode, USA TODAY Sports
CULLOWHEE, N.C. — Brian Okam’s fourth free throw attempt never hit the Ramsey Center floor Saturday afternoon.
There’s a pretty good chance Appalachian State’s redshirt junior will never hear the end of it either.
The Mountaineers led Western Carolina by nine points midway through the second half when Okam squared up for what would be his final free throw try of the game. The ball flew from his hands, reached its apex and then — as if colliding with an invisible blast of wind — nosedived into the arms of a teammate barely five feet in front of the charity stripe.
A few WCU fans heckled Okam as the Mountaineers headed for the other end of the court, and the Catamounts immediately went on a 13-4 run before pulling out a 70-64 win over the Mountaineers (1-7). But the real backlash for Okam came after WCU’s student-run television station posted footage on YouTube.
Monday afternoon, the 12-second clip entitled “WCU vs. App State — Worst free throw ever” had nearly two million views. By Tuesday night, that figure had risen above nine million.
“I thought people would watch it, but I didn’t think it’d go this viral,” said Kyle Rush, station manager for WCU’s TV 62. Rush added the clip’s been shown on ESPN’s SportsCenter.
Appalachian’s media relations department declined to make Okam available for an interview on Tuesday, instead releasing the following statement attributed to him: “I hit the first shot, and on the second, it was just one of those crazy things where the ball slips out of your hand. Obviously a lot of folks have seen it and it’s gotten a lot of attention, but I’m just focused on moving ahead with final exams this week and getting back on the winning track against UMKC on Sunday.”
WCU coaches and players declined comment through spokesman Daniel Hooker.
A native of Enugu, Nigeria, Okam played his final year of high school at Lake Highland (Fla.) and was ranked the nation’s No. 15 center recruit by ESPN as a senior (2009).
He initially signed with Rutgers and played there one season before transferring to Appalachian. He’s seen limited … [For more on Brian Okam reflects on embarrassing free throw fail, click here.]