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Squirrell shoots unorthodox one-handed free throws with surprising success

Ben Rohrbach
Prep Rally
Ossining (N.Y.) High star Abby Squirrell shoots 70 percent on her unorthodox one-handed free throws. (The News Journal)
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Ossining (N.Y.) High star Abby Squirrell shoots 70 percent on her unorthodox one-handed free throws. (The News Journal)

Rudy Gay once shot one-handed free throws due to injury, but Abby Squirrell does so by choice.

From the moment she receives the ball from the referee, the Ossining (N.Y.) High junior center dribbles, sets and releases using only her right hand, according to a Journal News feature on the state semifinalist.

"Sometimes I'll hear people in the stands, but sometimes people will come up to me after the game and say,'That's really cool. ... I've never seen that done before,'" Squirrell told the paper. "It was a little weird at first, but then you build muscle memory and it becomes easy."

There's no arguing the 6-foot-1 junior's success. She has made 44-of-63 free throw attempts this season, and her percentage (70 percent) ranks second on the team behind Stefanie Svoboda's 72 percent. Squirrell's success this season is a vast improvement from her 3-of-8 performance as a sophomore during Ossining's run to New York's Class AA state championship last season.

Credit longtime Ossining coach Dan Ricci for Squirrell's marked improvement. The Pride (22-2) are set to play in the state's final four this weekend, and he's all for Squirrell shooting the unorthodox free throws with a second straight title on the line. After all, he reportedly came up with the idea in the first place.

"The basketball is supposed to be shot with one hand; the other hand is supposed to be a guide hand," Ricci told The News Journal. "The left hand slows the (ball) rotation down."

Tell that to Joakim Noah. But Ricci would get no argument from American University's Tony Wroblicky, whose one-handed free throws were the subject of a Washington Post story earlier this week.

Somebody get Andre Drummond and DeAndre Jordan on the phone. This could solve all their problems.

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