CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. – The free throw line can be a lonely place. No offense to run, no teammates to help, it’s just you, a ball and a basket.
“Have confidence in the work you put in,” says Wabash sophomore Jack Davidson on his approach at the charity stripe. “When you step to the line, know that you’re gonna knock them in.”
Davidson embraces that challenge like no college basketball player has before, as he became the new NCAA record holder for consecutive free throws made, hitting 95 straight over a 14-game stretch this season.
“People kept saying, ‘stop talking about it. You’ll get a jinx,'” recounts Davidson. Then he describes the moment it happened, “I think the crowd was a little more nervous than I was. You could hear everyone quieting the crowd which might have raised my nerve level a little bit, but I knocked them down, which was awesome.”
Playing for Division III Wabash, Davidson has a unique connection to the Division I record holder (85 straight), Butler’s Darnell Archey.
"When he missed what would have been 86, I was at that game, which is pretty crazy," remembers Davidson, a Hamilton Southeastern graduate. "He called me the other day to congratulate me, which was awesome and very nice of him."
After Davidson hit his 95th straight free throw, the record was secure. But then, when he tried to extend it to 96, he missed.
"I don't know what happened," Davidson smiles. "I just left it short. At least I hit the two before to get the record."
"I'm sure he's gonna do it again at some point," proclaims Wabash head coach Kyle Brumett. "I don't know if it'll be 95, but he goes 16-for-17 last night. For the normal human, that's pretty darn good."
With two full years to go in his college career, that’s plenty of time to make another run at the record book.