Are you serious? NCAA game-winning shots are supposed to be reserved for the star senior or freshman phenom. When the game is on the line, the ball should go to the player the team relies on most. It rarely, if ever, falls into the hands of the unproven. It’s those moments when most fans peer through the fingers covering their faces. Most times, the ball clangs off the rim and the underdog team walks away with another “L.”
But there are magical moments that make college sports amazing.
Saturday night made for one of those moments when unranked Butler sophomore walk-on Alex Barlow hit the game-winning shot against the top-ranked Indiana Hoosiers. Alex, who came into the game averaging less than one point game for the year, drove the paint and laid up a shot that bounced around four times before falling in for the winning points.
“You grow up in the backyard with your hoop, and you dream that you’re playing the No. 1 team, last-second shot, shooting it. Not in my wildest dreams did I think that would be a reality,” Alex told USA Today.
Alex is all about overcoming the odds. After a less than star-filled high school career, Alex, a 5’11 guard, chose to walk-on at Butler in hopes that it would help in down the road if he ever chose to pursue coaching career. He scored a whopping six points last season as a freshman so Alex committed himself to the gym all off-season. A better jump shot and handle on the offense has translated into more playing time, and now, a starting role for this underdog walk-on. Coach Brad Stevens swears Alex “lives in the gym.” That hustle is paying off this season as the Bulldogs knocked off the nation’s top team.
No matter how large the odds are stacked against your success, compete. Persistence + focus on the goal will eventually pay off. Opportunities arrive – as long as you continue to work toward it, are ready when it arrives, and never walk away early. Those who seize opportunities compete every day. Make the choice.