When Alex Permann sank a half-court shot during a contest before the Missouri Valley title game on Sunday afternoon, the 24-year-old Missouri-St. Louis optometry student leapt in the air and pumped his fists like he'd just won the $50,000 cash prize.
Unfortunately for Permann, there was a problem: He hadn't properly followed directions.
Like most halftime shooting contests, participants had to make a layup, free throw, 3-pointer and half-court heave in less than 24 seconds to win. Permann hit the layup on his first try and the free throw on his second, then headed straight to the mid-court line even though both the PA announcer and fans in the crowd were shouting at him not to forget the 3-pointer.
Reached by phone after the game, Permann said he was trying to focus on the shots and he wasn't paying attention to those who were screaming at him. He thought he won the $50,000 when his half-court shot fell, but he realized his mistake when he saw people on the court pointing at the 3-point line and the basketball.
"There was a miscommunication and I was given some instructions that didn't match the instructions the announcer said," Permann said. "I was so excited to be out there that I didn't pay attention to what he said. I had in my mind what I was going to do before I went out there."
Tournament organizers huddled after Permann's shots to figure out how to handle the unusual situation and they came up with a compromise. Permann won't get his $50,000 because he didn't hit all four shots, but he'll receive tickets for life to the Missouri Valley tournament and four VIP passes and a three-day hotel stay for next year's event.
Permann admits he's disappointed not to be leaving with the money, but he's satisfied with the compromise. He saw Creighton's 68-65 victory over Wichita State from the front row, he sank a half-court shot in front of a sold-out arena and he'll be back again for many years to come.
"Overall, today was definitely a good [experience]," Permann said. "I'm happy they gave us tickets for life and all the other stuff. Money would be great but that's a pretty good consolation."
(Thanks, USA Today)