(Photo courtesy of Kansas State Athletics)
I'll never forget the game against Georgia my freshman year.
It was the first true road game of my career, and it showed. When we came out for the first half we were absolutely awful. We went into the locker room at halftime down just nine points, but it felt like twice as much. I was particularly terrible.
People are anxious to see how you handle your first road game, when nobody in the stands is cheering for you, and 20 minutes into my first test, the results weren't good. I had taken five shots at that point, and missed all of them.
As bad as I was, I knew my team still had a chance to win. After all, one of my favorite Bible verses is Philippians 4:13, which says "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
When we came out for the second half, our team was on fire. Everybody was making shots, playing freely like we had nothing to lose. We started to chip away at the lead, and by the time 30 seconds remained in the game, the score was tied at 66.
That's when I made the best mistake of my career.
We drew up a play for my teammate Wesley Iwundu, and hoped to drain all the clock as we played for the final shot. There was only one problem...I was on the wrong side of the court.
I was supposed to be on the right side of the wing, but maybe because of the pressure, or maybe lack of concentration, I found myself on the left side of the hoop. That's when I just tried to get out of the way as Wes began to drive toward the basket. I drifted toward the left corner, and then it happened. Instead of taking the shot, Wes threw the ball right toward me.
I had no choice but to shoot it. And despite the fact I had played horrible in the first half, I had all the confidence in myself to make that shot. I had made it a million times before, and this time was no different. I buried the shot, and just like that, our team had won 68-66. That celebration in the locker room is something I'll never forget.
The funny thing was, even after I hit that shot, I still wasn't an aggressive player. I was still looking to pass the ball to other people, and that's when the coaching staff finally sat me down and told me I needed to be a little more selfish. That meant less shots for my teammates, but they encouraged it too. That just shows the selflessness on our team.
So I continued to shoot, and the more I did, the better I got.
I shot 43 percent from the floor my freshman year, then 50 percent as a sophomore, and then last year things really began to change. I made 55 percent of my shots and averaged 16.2 points per game.
God was giving me success beyond my wildest dreams.
Then, at what felt like the worst possible time, it all came to a halt.