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Dambrot: Linhart's return unlikely

By mrasor Published: February 26, 2007

Men's basketball

Nate Linhart's future is less certain than what I reported earlier today.

Keith Dambrot said it's unlikely his starting small forward will return this season from a fractured thumb.

Either John Rybak or Jimmy Conyers will have to step up. Conyers started tonight, but Rybak played better, scoring seven.

The link above will take you to the Buchtelite's game story for Akron/Duquesne.

  • The Buchtelite's Vincent Dorsey documented all the great quotes Romeo Travis, Dru Joyce and Keith Dambrot said after Saturday's game in a story about what the two have meant to the program.

  • I wrote an angry, yet tongue-in-cheek, column about Akron's foul shooting...

A free throw is 15 feet.

No one contests them. At home, the building will become silent to minimize distractions.

St. Vincent-St. Mary's High School should provide a mandatory course in how to make them.

LeBron James, Romeo Travis and Dru Joyce each shoot below 70 percent at the stripe. These are all good shooters, mind you.

Keith Dambrot, St. V's former coach, now instructs the Mid-American Conference East-leading Zips on their work at the line. Akron is second-to-bleeping-last among MAC teams in free throw percentage.

"It's 'Bron's fault," Joyce said after Saturday's nail-biting win over Bowling Green. "He's rubbing off on us."

Funny guy, that Dru Joyce.

What's not funny is going 2-for-6 at the line as a point guard, like Joyce did Saturday. Running the point, a player is supposed to make at least 80 percent of his foul shots. (Remember the good old days when the Cavs had Mark Price and Terrell Brandon?)

Also drop this in the unfunny category: Missing a go-ahead foul shot with 15 seconds left. That was Joyce's crime in Wednesday's loss at Miami.

This is an even larger problem for Joyce because he's the Zips go-to guy when the game is on the line.

Picture this hypothetical situation. Akron's down two and has one possession to tie the game. Joyce is a 66 percent foul shooter. Statistically, the odds of Joyce making a field goal (43 percent this season) are exactly the same as him tying the game by drilling both foul shots (43 percent).

If I'm Kent State's Jim Christian, I order my team to send Joyce to the line.

I don't mean to pick on Dru. He recently overtook Eric McLaughlin as the school's all-time assists leader. Just make your bleeping foul shots.

In fact, there are much worse foul shooters. Take Travis for example. He missed seven freebies on Saturday.

I don't even want to think about Jeremiah Wood. His stroke looks like a karate chop from someone petrified of fighting Chuck Norris. Wood fills the net on 54 percent of his free throws. (In his defense, Wood's facial expressions show that each clank off the back iron affects him like seeing an ex-girlfriend slobber on some trashy dude's face.)

"I don't think we're a bad free throw team," Dambrot said after Saturday's game.

Come again?

If the Zips aren't bad, I want to know what kind of standards the Zips coach holds.

All right. Enough whining. I have a solution.

Dust off your awesome-sports-movies memory banks to recall Rube Baker. The catcher in Major League II had a howitzer for an arm, but failed in every attempt to toss the ball back to the pitcher.

To cure this ailment, the coach suggested Baker think about his favorite models in Playboy magazine.

Problem solved.

I'm not suggesting the Zips become pornography connoisseurs. Just find something - anything - to make the bleeping foul shots.

Foul shots are a mental test, for sure. You're standing there all alone with plenty of time to realize the entire arena is focusing on you.

Ask Bruce Bowen. The San Antonio Spurs guard shoots 39 percent on 3-pointers. Put him at the stripe, and it's 50 percent. Once again, you're better off hacking him, even if it means he's going to the line for three foul shots.

"It's just a matter of relaxing and not being upset about missing," Bowen told a basketball Web site a few years ago.

Really, Bruce? How's that working out for you?

This year, Akron teams have zeroed in on my two biggest pet peeves in sports: missing foul shots and extra points in football.

Both are gimmies. Missing a lot of either is absolutely unacceptable. If the St. V's crew doesn't solve the problem, I might go insane.

OK. In the interest of full disclosure, I air-balled a foul shot in a rec league game last week.



I wrote a Buchtelite story about Andy Alleman and Luke Getsy's experience at the Combine.

I wasn't able to speak with either player, so you probably won't read anything you don't already know.


I also chatted with coach Dennis Mitchell about this weekend's MAC Championship.

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