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Inside look at high school and Oakland University sports from Oakland Press sports writer Dave Pemberton.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Kangas ready for 3-point shootout

Oakland senior Erik Kangas broke nearly every school record for 3-pointers this season. Now he is set to test his 3-point shooting prowess against the rest of the nation’s top shooters in the 21st annual ESPN College Slam Dunk and Three-Point Championships Thursday at 7:30 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Kangas is looking forward to the event and said he was honored to be one of the eight players chosen to compete in the 3-point championship.

“I think it’s a good story for the rest of my life that I was one of the few people chosen to be in one of these skills competitions,” Kangas said. “It’s pretty cool that I got in it because I’m at a small school, where you don’t get a lot of national press. It’s good to get my name out there and get Oakland’s name out there too.”

Kangas said he has practiced a few times to prepare for the event, but he is trying to stay loose and have fun with the event.

“I did some trial runs, just picking them off the rack and seeing what side of the rack I’m more comfortable with. Besides that I’ve just been shooting on my own, making sure I don’t get all-washed up,” Kangas said with a laugh.

“I found out that I like picking them up from the right side of the rack better. Also you shouldn’t watch your shoot go in the hoop, you just have to shoot it and pick up the next ball. You can’t waste all that time. … I’m going to do a set-shot too, I’m not going to do a jump shot so I can go quicker. I’m not going to rush my shot, but after I shoot it, I’m going to go get the next ball.”

With the 3-point shootout taking place a short drive from Oakland’s campus, Kangas expects a strong cheering section at The Palace.

“Everyone that I talk to on a regular basis said they are going,” Kangas said. “Student tickets are only five dollars so I’m expecting a big section.”

Kangas will have some stiff competition with Creighton’s Booker Woodfox, Miami’s Jack McClinton, Missouri’s Matt Lawrence, Northwestern’s Craig Moore, West Virginia’s Alex Ruoff, Rhode Island’s Jimmy Baron and perhaps the wildcard of the group Grinnell College’s John Grotberg taking part. Grotberg, an Ann Arbor native, hit 526 career 3-pointers for Division III Grinnell College, the highest total in college basketball history at any level. He is the first Division III player to earn an invitation to the event in its 21-year history.

Kangas said he doesn’t know any of the other competitors, but is looking forward to meeting them and he is also looking forward to the dunk contest.

“The dunk contest is one of those things that everybody likes to watch,” Kangas said. “I think it’s going to be even cooler to watch it in person.”

The dunk contest will feature Gonzaga’s Jeremy Pargo and Micah Downs, Marquette’s Wesley Matthews, Charlotte’s Charlie Coley III, New Mexico’s Tony Danridge, Central Florida’s Jermaine Taylor, Toledo’s Tyrone Kent and Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Terry Evans.

The women’s 3-point championship will feature Arizona State’s Briann January, Maryland’s Kristi Toliver, Iowa’s Kristi Smith, Georgetown’s Karee Houlette, Central Michigan’s Angel Chan, Iowa State’s Heather Ezell, Duke’s Abby Waner and Furman’s Melissa Liebschwager.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

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April 1, 2009 at 11:33 PM 

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