“Once we tried it, we had a high success rate, so we kept trying it in the offseason.”
The Daegu KOGAS Pegasus lost 84-87 to the Goyang Sono Skyliners in a scrimmage at the Goyang Sono Arena Auxiliary Gymnasium on Nov. 22.
As an off-season scrimmage, KOGAS’s focus was less on winning and more on improving the players’ evenness of play. Veteran players, backups, and rookies returning from injury all saw time on the court.
Among the starters was Philippine AsiaQuarter guard Sam Josef Belangel. In his first year with KOGAS, Belangel appeared in 52 games last season and averaged 7.0 points per game.
“During the offseason, I’ve been working on my body according to the coach’s wishes. I’ve been working on things like my strength, so I feel like I’m getting really good. We’re still trying to get our chemistry together. We need to play more games to improve our chemistry, as the older players are getting back into the swing of things.”
Looking back on last season, Vellangel says the team had its ups and downs. This season, he said, it’s important for the team to deliver consistent performances. Acting head coach Kang Hyuk gave him several orders after the game. He was eager to repay Kang’s faith in him.
“It’s important for me to understand what the coaching staff is asking me to do and follow my role in the team. Acting head coach Kang Hyuk puts a lot of faith in me and supports me in playing what I enjoy and am good at. I will try to showcase my basketball with that faith.”
Belangell is trying something new from the free throw line this offseason. Instead of using a traditional free throw form, he’s switched to a one-handed attempt that resembles a floater.
It’s a good move for a reason. Belangell shot a dismal 66.7% from the line last season for a guard. Against DB on March 25, he missed back-to-back game-winning free throws, setting the stage for a buzzer-beater by Ethan Albano.
In response, Belangel, who has a long floater, tried a one-handed free throw, and with a good success rate, he has been shooting free throws with a floater in practice. In the game against Sono, all of his floaters went through the rim.
“I was confident with my floater, so I thought why not try it on my free throws? Once I tried it, it seemed to have a high success rate, so I kept trying it in the off-season,” he explains, adding, “I’m thinking about shooting floaters in the season.”
As long as it’s within the rules, it’s up to the athlete to decide which form they want to try. It will be interesting to see if Belangell can successfully adopt the floater free throw. The KOGAS coaching staff has been very supportive of his decision.
“If the player wants to do it, the coach wants to let him do it,” said KOGAS coach Kim Sang-young. Instead of just throwing it casually, I want him to practice it well to improve his chances and use it to his advantage, and if he can do that, I will continue to recommend it.”
“He shoots free throws in practice, too, and his percentages are positive. Of course, it’s not 100 percent, but it’s something to point out, but I’m going to keep practicing and try to improve the odds.”
In the NBA, San Antonio rookie Jeremy Sohen recently made headlines for his one-handed free throw attempts. Sohen, who had a poor free throw percentage, tried shooting free throws with only one hand, reminiscent of Dennis Rodman, who tried the same trick in the past. His success rate improved dramatically.
The KBL is not without its share of one-handed free throw shooters. Foreign player Vernon Macklin shot free throws with one hand similar to Sohen’s method when he played for Hyundai Mobis. The difference is that Macklin gripped the ball with one hand from the start, while Vellangel gripped the ball with two hands and released his left hand on the way up.
Will Vangel’s efforts to improve his free throw percentage pay off? It will be interesting to see how he performs at the free throw line in the upcoming season. 바카라