INDIANAPOLIS – In a place where tradition is the watchword, it would figure he would harken back to someone from the past for inspiration in the moment.
Standing on the Bulldog logo at the middle of Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon, with a few thousand Butler fans and an entire nation watching, Kevin Schwartz could only think of one person as he prepared for a potentially profitable shot.
“I used to watch Larry Bird highlights from the three-point contest and the way he shot them he wouldn’t even look at the ball, he’d go look for the next ball off the rack,” said the Butler junior, who was about to take part in the State Farm Half-Court shot during the ESPN “College Gameday” show being broadcast live from the historic venue.
Schwartz had 18 seconds to put up as many attempts at the shot as he could with the prize being a check for 18,000 dollars. That’s why he remembered the strategy Larry Bird used to win a number of NBA Three-Point Contest championships in his tenure.
“So once I put it up, I went to the next ball from (ESPN announcer) Rece (Davis),” said Schwartz-though it would prove to be unnecessary.
On his first attempt at the long shot he put it right into the basket without hitting the rim, picking up the big check and earning a round of applause from the gallery at Hinkle Fieldhouse and a nationwide audience.
“I’ve had my fair share of moments being on national TV,” said Schwartz, who is a regular at Butler home and sometimes road contests. “But its pretty cool because I know my parents are watching back home and I got a lot of the crowd supporting me, so it’s very exciting.”
Schwartz, a native of Oak Park, Ill., plans to the use the money for future Butler road trips and to pay off some from the past.