UGA Walk-Ons

By: jackiereedy

Jan 29 2010

Category: Sports


Focal Length:70mm
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Camera:Canon EOS 7D

Matt Bucklin and Connor Nolte pose before practice on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2009 in Athens, Ga. (PHOTO/ Jackie Reedy,

Walk-ons create trick shot videos

January 26, 2010 by NICK PARKER  

As much attention as the Georgia basketball team’s recent play has drawn, two walk-ons — Connor Nolte and Matt Bucklin — have done their part in amplifying the program’s attention, too; albeit through a different avenue: game day trick shots.

The trick shots all started with a Christmas gift for Nolte — a video camera — and after repeatedly “seeing [trick shots] on Sportscenter,” the plan was set in motion to begin recording trick shots of their own to post on Nolte’s blog

 “Before every game me and Connor, in our little free time after team meal, would just see if we can get one,” Bucklin said. “We kind of plan it out during the week and get a little excited for it because we’re so excited for the game, and it’s just something fun we do.”

Little did they know the attention that fun would eventually garner.

The shots began with a halfcourt finger roll by graduate assistant Todd Okeson.

But it was two shots before the Ole Miss game that really helped the trick shots gain a following.

The first shot was a two-handed heave by Bucklin over his head from the opposite foul line that swooshed in.

That absurd shot was followed by a one-handed throw by Nolte from one of the Stegeman Coliseum exits that banked off the glass and in.

“Those are entertaining, and they are great kids,” said coach Mark Fox. “Both are good students, so I can’t say they have too much time on their hands, but those are really fun to see.”

ESPN obviously thought so, too, airing the two shots on their afternoon show ESPNSportsNation; although, Nolte and Bucklin had to record the show because they were at practice.

“It’s cool to see something like that get some press,” Nolte said. “But we’re trying to build something here and anything you know I can do — I’m redshirting this year — so I figured anything I can do to kind of throw some positive interest in our program or just kind of show the fun side of college basketball.”

With the football team working out in Stegeman Coliseum due to renovations of Butts-Mehre, Nolte seized the opportunity, asking Mark Richt to make a guest appearance on the game day trick shot.

And Richt acquiesced, nailing a one-handed, over-his-head shot from the foul line on his first try, which has since generated over 23,000 views on YouTube.

“You can tell by my ridiculous yelling on the video that I was amazed that he made it on the first try,” Nolte said. “Coach Richt’s shot really took the game day trick shot to another level. While it wasn’t that difficult, his star power was evident.”

Richt may have sunk his shot on his first attempt, but how many tries did it take Nolte and Bucklin to knock in their improbable shots?

“I went through a couple racks of balls, but I had a rebounder,” Bucklin said. “Connor, on the other hand, took four balls up there and got his down in about four shots, so that was pretty cool.”

Fox isn’t buying that, though, joking that “they probably had to recharge their camera battery about 17 times before getting one to go.”

The clip gained greater access to the Georgia fanbase, though, when Fox’s two walk-ons convinced him to post the link on his Twitter account — after Nolte and Bucklin repeatedly begged their first year head coach.

“They were begging. They wanted some more views or hits or whatever you call it,” Fox said. “They were begging, but that’s fun stuff, and part of the experience and hopefully other students will see that.”

Ironically, it was Nolte’s persistence that caused Fox to set up a Twitter in the first place, so naturally, Nolte took a little bit of credit when Fox was recently named the “Twitterer of the Year” by the Digital Hoops Blast Blog.

“I was encouraging him to get a Twitter for a long time, so I was proud that he got the ‘Twitterer of the Year,’” Nolte said. “I kept telling him he’d be a great personality for Twitter.

“A lot of people don’t know, he’s a real serious guy, but he has a good sense of humor, and he’s a great coach to play for, so I figured that will be a good way to get the people in Georgia kind of used to what he’s about.”
Nolte was right.

Fox’s personality has been an instant hit on Twitter, as he already has over 1,500 followers in under two month’s time.

Nolte may have introduced Fox to Twitter, but Fox had to remind him of who already won an award for his tweets, tweeting on Jan. 6 “Connor Nolte just asked me if I wanted a Twitter for dummies book? Does he know we were ranked as the #1 account in the SEC by Digital Hoops?”

“It’s cool for the students because to have a direct voice to the students is cool,” Fox said of his Twittering prowess. “And I have fun with it. I guess you can send messages back and forth, which I don’t ever read, so I don’t want people to think I’m rude. I’m a one-way Twitterer I guess.”


2 comments on “UGA Walk-Ons”

  1. You’re just too good for words, Miss “I can catch a single spin of the basketball around his finger on camera”!

  2. Nike would definitely be happy with that picture.

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