Spradling working to fix shot

By Joel Jellison

Will Spradling probably wants to forget last Tuesday’s game against Kansas.

After scoring 15 points to help Kansas State beat Oklahoma on Jan. 19, Spradling wanted more than anything to play a key role in the Wildcats’ game against the Jayhawks.

But after missing his first few shots, he appeared broken. He and was 0 for 5 from the field — all 3-pointers — and finished scoreless for the first time since his freshman season.

It was what happened after the game that started a road back to recovery, in a sense.

K-State coach Bruce Weber took Spradling to the Basketball Training Facility after the loss, looking to fix that which was broken.

“People don’t realize that the most important part of your shot is your feet, and your legs,” Weber said this week. “You have to get 10 toes on the ground, you’ve got to get them pointed to the hoop, and you got to get your legs into the shot, and if you don’t do that, you’re not going to be a good shooter.

“He said he didn’t get his legs into his shot and I just talked to him about that and just the quick release. The quick release comes at the start of your shot — if you have your start right and your footwork right, it makes shooting a lot easier.”

Last season, Spradling suffered through a well-documented shooting slump that might have been influenced by an injury. But Spradling doesn’t let that be his excuse.

The K-State junior said he needs to learn to shoot his way out of the slumps, especially with Texas in town tonight to face the Wildcats at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.

“I felt like last year I was in a way worse shooting slump because there was series’ of games where I didn’t shoot well,” he said. “This year it’s like one game and then I’ll shoot well two games and then another game, and then I’ll shoot well again.

“If I miss my first few shots, I’ve just got to keep shooting. That’s something I need to do a better job of.”

Spradling seemed to turn it around in the Wildcats’ loss to Iowa State on Saturday, leading the team with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range.

It paled in comparison to the junior’s performance against KU, which started with a rushed shot in one of the first possessions of the game — seemingly putting him in the wrong direction for the rest of the night.

Spradling said since he started working on improving his shot, he’s begun warming up with 10 shots from five different spots on the floor.

Weber said another improvement Spradling needs to make in the offseason, is getting his legs stronger.

“I just think being confident and getting his legs in his shot — if he’s going to make progress, it’s going to be this spring and summer in getting his legs stronger,” he said. “He’s got to have a better base, and that will help him immensely.”

Along with the possible injury, Spradling’s shooting slump seemed to be connected to his confidence last season as well. That doesn’t seem to be an issue anymore though, as the junior said his coaches confidence in him helps keep him on track.

“After the (KU) game coach even texted me ‘we still have confidence in you, you’ve got to come back tomorrow and work harder,’” Spradling said. “That’s what I did. It’s great knowing my coach has confidence in me to do it.”

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