Need a free throw made? Huskies have just the girl: Guy
HOUGHTON – First, some trivia.
How many players in the NBA have a career free throw rate of 90 percent or better?
The list isn’t long – only Steve Nash and Mark Price have cracked the 90 mark for their lifetime.
The Michigan Tech list – men or women – goes smaller still, because no Husky has managed such a proficient percentage over a four-year Tech career.
Kelli Guy, a 5-foot-5 point guard from downstate Kalkaska High School, comes to Tech with a litany of remarkable numbers. As a two time all-state selection, Guy averaged 21.6 points per game and 6.9 assists per contest her senior year and set her school’s assist record along the way. In the “offseason,” she went on to win the U-16 AAU State Championship with her club team.
But it is the her free-throw rate – well north of 90 percent her senior season to lead the entire state of Michigan – that illustrates Guy’s attributes as a player the most.
As Guy explains it, she doesn’t come to that proficiency naturally. It was hours upon hours upon hours spent in the gym mastering the most efficient shot in basketball.
“It was just a lot of practice. A lot of practice,” Guy said of her free throw shooting. “My high school coach (Dave Dalton) worked with me since I was little on my shot. He is a really good teacher so when it comes to that I owe it to him.”
Guy enters the Tech women’s program at a curious time.
The one constant over the last decade of Husky hoops has been a dynamic point guard the team can rely upon.
Sarah Stream helped lead the Huskies to back-to-back Elite 8 appearances and successor Sam Hoyt spent the last three years earning every plaudit coach Kim Cameron could think up.
But with a second knee injury putting junior Michelle Gaedke’s availability in doubt, there is no obvious heir to the Husky PG throne on the returning Tech roster.
And with NCAA Tournament-tested talent throughout the rest of the roster, the fortunes of the Huskies’ season – that edge between good and great – could depend on how quickly Guy gets up to speed.
“Those are definitely some big shoes to fill,” Guy said. “I’m just going to try and do whatever I can to help the team.
“That was one of the main things I loved about (Tech) though. Just the awesome basketball tradition they have. I hope to keep it going.”
To help her adjustment to the increased speed and physicality of the game, Guy moved to Houghton a few weeks ago to enroll in summer class and attend open gyms with her new teammates.
Sophomores MacKenzie Perttu and Kylie Moxley took the same path last season en route to freshmen seasons that saw them earn spots in the starting lineup.
“Building that chemistry is really important,” Guy said. “(As a point guard) I would say that I like to be a distributor first. I really like getting everyone involved. And then if I get an open shot, hopefully I can knock that down.”
One other factor links Hoyt and Guy together -their size.
Almost always the smallest player on the court, Hoyt exuded a quality of toughness that belied her size. It was not a coincidence that she led the Huskies in free-throw attempts the last two seasons.
Guy can relate to that attitude.
“I have been facing that my whole life, so I have kind of figured out other things to do,” Guy said. “Whether it is just using my quickness, or working on my shot, I’ve always kind of figured it out. It hasn’t been a problem yet.”