Stuck at home for the foreseeable future, Leah Church figured her mini hoop could get some use.
So she dug it out of the basement, hung it on a door in her upstairs bonus room and started shooting. An hour later, the UNC women’s basketball player had a “backwards quarantine edition” trick shot video that — like many of her other feats — made the rounds on Twitter and Instagram.
In the 12-second clip, Church stands a good 10 feet away from the goal and sinks four straight shots with her back turned. She edited in some “Jump Around” music, and just like that, the guard whose team has dubbed her its “backwards baller” had another highlight.
On Tuesday, Church, a junior reserve guard, spoke with The Daily Tar Heel about that clip, her other shooting records and UNC’s season at large, among other topics. The interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.
So how did this mini-hoop idea originate?
I had seen, on Instagram, the #InHouseChallenge. It was just a lot of people doing trick shots — Trae Young doing the 3-point contest with socks and a trash can, I think, and all these different things. So I was like, ‘How about I put a twist on my backwards shot that went viral back in August and try it on a mini hoop indoors?' It was actually more difficult than shooting on a regular goal. The balls are really small and also, with the ceiling, you can't really mess up on your arc or it'll hit the top. It actually took me — I don't know how many tries — about an hour. I was just up there playing around. I would get two or three in a row, but I wanted to hit four, so that's what took me a bit longer to achieve.
What's the key to a backwards shot like that?
It's still like your own shot, which is weird. It's lining yourself up to start with, because obviously I don't use a mirror or anything, so I can't even see where the goal is. Just kind of lining yourself up and just trying to get the feel, the consistency of how you shot the first one and keep that the same throughout the next three.