Those college and pro hoopsters could take a lesson in free throw shooting from Whitney Malin. This 13-year-old middle schooler from Mackey is money at the foul line.
"My dream is to play college basketball somewhere," Whitney told us. "I would like to coach someday."
Whitney's dad Matt says she practices a lot. "Oh probably 100-150 free throws a day."
Whitney was supposed to compete at the Knights of Columbus State Free Throw Tournament this past weekend. But in a school gym class, taught by her dad, she broke the top of the middle finger on her left hand.
Matt wasn't sure it was broken. "I'm not always the most sensitive dad. It looked like a dislocation to me and I said 'Let me pull on it' and she said 'No! You're not pulling on it.'"
Whitney is right-handed, but any good shooter knows the left middle finger is the one that guides the ball. She went to the tournament anyway - and had to wait for the first 29 competitors before finally getting her chance. Best out of 25 shots would win. "Two girls went up and hit 21," Whitney said. "I knew I needed 22 to win it."
After missing two of her first three shots, Whitney finished with 22 out of 25. "It was pretty good to win it at eleven-years-old, but to step up and win it again at 13 - especially from the 15 foot - that was exciting."
So now, she's not only a two-time state champ, but Rich Miller's new free throw guru. After providing a few tips to the WFIE sports anchor, Rich went to the line. He wasn't successful, but thanks to Whitney reminding him to keep his 'elbows in' and bend his knees, he finally got into a rythm. Ri ch knows he's no threat to the free throw queen who's looking forward to the day when she's alone at the stripe, with the game on the line.
Whitney likes the sound of that. "I think I can handle that. I've been in those situations before, so I hope I can do that."