NCAA BK

Heslip takes aim, Baylor moves on

Brady Heslip and coach Scott Drew on Heslip's big game for Baylor.
Brady Heslip and coach Scott Drew on Heslip's big game for Baylor.
Share This Story

Thayer Evans

Senior College Football writer Thayer Evans previously wrote for The New York Times and Houston Chronicle, as well as contributed to The Economist, USA Today, The Washington Post and more. Follow him on Twitter.

MORE>>
 
   
 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.

The first time Baylor's Perry Jones III saw Brady Heslip he mistook him for a team manager.

Teammate Fred Ellis’ initial impression of the pale, floppy-haired Canadian was that he was a skateboarder.

And when Heslip sat out last season after transferring to the Bears, students wanted to know who the white kid was who hung out with the basketball team.

But once they all saw Heslip on the court, there was no more confusion, stereotyping or questions.

"He can shoot it now," Jones III said.

Now the nation knows that after the gum-chewing Heslip had career highs of nine 3-pointers and 27 points Saturday night to spark third-seeded Baylor’s 80-63 victory against No. 11 seed Colorado at The Pitt in a third-round game of the NCAA tournament’s South Regional.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Heslip, whose previous best for 3s was a 6-of-10 effort at BYU in December.

Heslip, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound starting sophomore shooting guard from Burlington, Ontario, misfired just three times on 3s, and his only other miss came on a floater after being chased from the 3-point line.

His barrage was just two 3s short of tying former Loyola Marymount guard Jeff Fryer’s single-game NCAA tournament record in 1990.

Heslip has made 29 of 52 3-point attempts during his last five games and is shooting 45.6 percent on 3s for the season (98 of 215). He also is averaging 10.3 points per game for the Bears (29-7).

With a matchup next week in Atlanta in the South region semifinals against the winner of Sunday’s game between No. 15 seed Leigh (27-7) and No. 10 Xavier (22-12), the Bears could face top overall seed Kentucky (34-2) with a trip to the Final Four at stake.

Heslip’s 3s came on a night in which Jones III, a sophomore and an alleged future NBA lottery pick, once again struggled, with 7 points and 4 rebounds, and his coach Scott Drew again looked lost on the sideline at times. Heslip made them every way imaginable — off screens, with a hand in his face and even falling down.

ncaa tournament

BATTLE IS ON

Check out Saturday's action as teams fight for Sweet 16 spots in the NCAA tournament.

After several early 3s, Heslip celebrated with “the goose eye,” in which he pinched his thumb and forefinger together and placed the circle around one of his eyes. By halftime, he had connected on 6 of his 8 attempts to give his otherwise sluggish team a 37-35 lead.

Later, during a 14-0 run in the second half that give his team a 75-60 lead with 4:22 left, he had two backbreaking 3s. By then, he was bouncing around the court after each like a boxer who had delivered a knockout punch.

“Heslip was the difference,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. “He was unconscious tonight.”

Heslip’s barrage of 3s not only made him one of the faces of this NCAA tournament, but also one of Twitter’s most trending topics Saturday night. But afterward, he downplayed his performance.

Instead, he credited his teammates for setting screens that got him open as well as for their on-time, on-target passes. Late in the game, his teammates wanted him to try to break Fryer’s record, but they said he wouldn’t shoot.

“That humility is what makes our team successful,” Drew said.

Growing up in Canada, Heslip was introduced to the game at the age of 3 and honed his skills playing H-O-R-S-E in the driveway with his father.

"It was just something I fell in love with," Heslip said.

In need of a 3-point shooting specialist, Drew sought out Heslip when he decided to leave Boston College after redshirting as a freshman in 2010 and the Eagles changed coaches. The nephew of former Toronto Raptors coach Jay Triano, he was 24 pounds heavier when he arrived at Baylor.

Through his renowned work ethic, he lost the weight and honed his shooting. It’s common for him to shoot before class, after it and then again after practice.

Drew credited Heslip’s devotion for the sharpshooter not becoming tired Saturday night, despite the arena’s mile-high altitude.

“That shocked me,” Drew said.

Freshman forward Quincy Miller, Heslip’s roommate, joked that Heslip is so dedicated to shooting that he dreams about it.

CHEERS!

They're part of the magic every season. Enjoy our photo-gallery tribute to college basketball cheerleaders.

“Instead of Zs," Miller said, "it’s 3s."

Yet as impressive Heslip’s shooting was Saturday, his teammates were nonchalant about it.

“It’s not that amazing to me because I know he’s a great shooter,” Miller said.

But what Heslip does that amazes his teammates almost sounds mythical. Jones III gushed about Heslip consistently making shots from just inside half court.

Miller said he once saw Heslip make 50 3s in a row during a workout.

“It was like it wasn’t nothing,” Miller said. “They were nothing but net.”

That doesn’t spare Heslip from being chided by his teammates about his hair, which Miller described as “a little comb over.” Because of it, they call him Brad Pitt and Wayne Gretzky.

Entering the NCAA tournament, some Baylor students still didn’t know Heslip’s name. Instead, Miller said they referred to him as “the white kid on the team who doesn’t miss.”

“I’m pretty sure people know now,” Miller said.

Non-Baylor fans still might need help remembering Heslip’s actual name though. But at least now they know he can shoot.

Tagged: Baylor, Brady Heslip, Perry Jones III

More Stories From Thayer Evans

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



NCAA BK Videos

Georgetown, Syracuse to renew CBK rivalry Posted: Jun 10, 2014
Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III on the renewal of the rivalry betw...

Cuonzo Martin new head coach at Cal Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Cuonzo Martin is introduced as Cal's new head coach.

UConn tops Notre Dame in women's final Posted: Apr 09, 2014
Hear from Geno Auriemma and his players after their National Championship victor...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/885881/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_885000/ff_885881_xl.jpg&w=100 74.95 Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black
    Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Georgetown_Hoyas/browse/featuredproduct/1030243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1030000/ff_1030243_xl.jpg&w=100 119.95 Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue
    Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Duke_Blue_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/1032710/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1032000/ff_1032710_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue
    Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oregon_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/1052002/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052002_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green
    Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/1052645/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052645_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet
    Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Indiana_Hoosiers/browse/featuredproduct/1124528/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1124000/ff_1124528_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Cri..
    adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Louisville_Cardinals/browse/featuredproduct/1127200/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127200_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/1127218/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127218_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey ..
    Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Gonzaga_Bulldogs/browse/featuredproduct/1155821/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1155000/ff_1155821_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue
    Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions Adjustable Hat – Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Hurricanes/browse/featuredproduct/1177723/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1177000/ff_1177723_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Cham..