January 21, 2011
When Green Bay athletic officials approached junior Eric Valentin about going after the Guinness World Record for half-court shots in a minute, the walk-on guard feared it might take him weeks to achieve that goal.
"We had a 45-minute window before team dinner that night, so I really didn't think I'd get it that day," Valentin said. "I didn't want them to come with all the equipment and have to come back again because I failed them, so I tried my best to get it done as quickly as possible."
Maybe Valentin underestimated himself because he set a world record on just his fourth attempt. The 5-foot-4 guard with the reputation as the best trick shot artist on the Green Bay team sank 8-of-19 half-court shots in less than a minute, eclipsing the previous record of seven set by Washington State student Charlie Vernon on April 15.
[Rewind video: An incredible half-court buzzer beater]
"I was shocked the last shot went in, especially since I rushed it," Valentin said. "I really had three shots to try to make eight and I blew the first two, so I tried to get that one off just in time and I was really surprised that I made it."
Although high school and college players across the nation spend a few minutes before or after every practice firing up trick shots from behind the backboard or in the stands, Valentin has always had a greater knack than most.
[Rewind: An extremely expensive half-court prank]
His AAU coaches always complimented him on his form when he attempted half-court shots because he shot the ball rather than heaving it the way the other 12- and 13-year-olds did. And he's usually able to predict whether a half-court shot will go in as it leaves his hands the way other shooters often do a free throw or 3-pointer.
At Daytona State community college in Florida, Valentin and his buddies regularly attempted trick shots off the wall of the gym, and they once put a video on YouTube of him sinking six half-court shots in a minute. It was that video that inspired Green Bay officials to see if he'd take a shot at breaking the world record on camera.
"Now that everybody's catching wind that I set a record, it's really a cool thing," Valentin said. "I think it's something I'll remember the rest of my life."
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