South GA youngsters talk Laettner's legendary shotPosted: Updated:
It's hard to believe Christian Laettner sank his overtime buzzer-beater that lifted Duke over Kentucky 21 years ago, well before everyone in attendance at Laettner's Basketball Academy in Americus was alive.
So do any campers at this week's camp know the shot that made Laettner a college basketball legend?
"You two haven't seen the shot, have you?" asks WALB's Jake Wallace.
"No," campers Riley and Ansley Goolsby quietly respond.
With answers like that, it was to the magic of technology and YouTube.
We showed several campers the video of Laettner's miraculous shot from the 1992 NCAA Tournament.
Many of the reactions were the same.
"That was an amazing shot," says 13 year old James Overton.
Now that they know who the man is in front of them, the young players say it brings a new light to the camp.
"I knew he played at Duke and made a crazy shot, but I hadn't seen the video of it," says Overton. "Maybe I can learn something from it."
There was one camper who knew about the shot.
Seven year old Perry Usher, fully decked out in a Duke #2 jersey and shorts, has practically been raised on the Laettner shot.
"My granddaddy recorded it, so I'd seen it all the time when I went to his house," Usher says.
It's the most memorable moment from a career that includes two national titles, a Wooden and Naismith Award, 13 seasons in the NBA, and a spot on the 1992 Olympic Dream Team.
Even 21 years later, Laettner says he still enjoys reliving the moment that will be replayed during the month of March for decades to come.
"I love it still. I still really get great emotions from it," he says. "It's mostly from how everyone else reacts to it. 'We hate you because you made the shot, or we love you because you made the shot.' It's always fun."
Laettner says it always adds a little credibility for the youngsters at the camp
"They at least start to know that old guy with gray hair I was learning from today made a big shot when he was in college," Laettner laughs.
The two-time national champion is hosting his camp at Georgia Southwestern's Storm Dome through Thursday.
He says coaching and teaching the game is just in his DNA.
"I think I've always been a coach at heart," Laettner says. "My father was a coach for 35 years for fourth to eighth graders. My mother was a teacher in third grade. It's just in my blood to help out, and to try to teach kids and to help them learn things."
Laettner touched on the state of college basketball today, saying he believes the game is watered down due to the one-and-done rule that allows players to leave for the NBA Draft after just one college season.
"That NBA money is really hard for kids to turn down, but I think the one and done has diluted the college game a little bit," says Laettner, who played all four seasons at Duke. "At the same time, I think it's diluted the NBA game a little bit. But it's just a beast of the machine that it is."
Laettner heads to Tifton after finishing up in Americus.
He will host a workshop Saturday at Tift County High School. The camp is open to all players ages 6-18 and costs $40.
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