Shooter’s touch or magic? A free-throw gets stuck on rim

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Kamil Gawrzydek isn’t a character out of Lord of the Rings or a Neil Gaiman book. But I’m certain he has magic powers.

How else to explain this free throw he shot during Tuesday night’s 71-48 loss at Utah State?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/v/lF8w3zN0xiA&hl=en_US]

How long does the ball stay on the rim? Two seconds? Three? Seems like an eternity. A better question: How does that happen?(Magic powers notwithstanding.)

That’s where John Fontanella, a physics professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and author of the book, “The Physics of Basketball,” comes in. Here’s his response to Jeff Eisenberg of The Dagger:

“There’s absolutely no reason the ball couldn’t actually do that if all the conditions were right because you have two round surfaces. As long as the middle of the ball is directly above the middle of the rim, theoretically it can stay there as long as it likes until it’s disturbed by something. Maybe the conditions were just right.”

Try perfect. Fontanella noted that a sticky substance on the ball or a vent blowing straight down on it may have helped it stay on the rim. What are the odds of it actually happening?

“A chance in a million, I guess,” Fontanella told Eisenberg. “It’s like it rolled up to the top of a hill and just sat there. Eventually there was just enough of a disturbance, somebody stomped on the floor or a fan did something to shake it off the top.” 

I’m still not ruling out magic.

Want more? I’m also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller.