When junior JT Faircloth released the ball at half-court on Jan. 4, the self-declared Belmont superfan didn’t realize he would become the first person to make the Shot for Tuition basket twice.
“The last time I had practiced a half-court shot was months before,” said Faircloth, who made his first half-court basket Feb. 20, 2013. “I wasn’t really expecting that I was going to make it, but at the same time I really didn’t want to miss it.”
His shot came during the second half of the women’s basketball game between Belmont and Ohio Valley Conference foe Tennessee Tech.
Faircloth is now the second Belmont student to make the half-court shot during the 2013-2014 season.
Prior to this year, nobody had made the half-court shot for two seasons.
Belmont holds their Shot for Tuition contest during every home basketball game with contestants determined by a random ticket draw, that students can enter prior to the game. If the contestant makes their half-court shot, as Faircloth did, they win free tuition for an entire semester.
If no one makes the half-court shot during the season, all of the contestants are brought back for a shootout during the final home game of the season to guarantee one winner.
“It’s not something you can expect, but it’s something to just try for,” said Faircloth. “You can practice all you want, but even the best half-court shooters and three-point shooters hit maybe 50 percent of the time. I don’t believe in luck and I also don’t believe that skill will take you that far so it’s really something you need to just go out and do.”
Faircloth described his regular shooting style as very unorthodox, but went on to say that he thought the mechanics of his tuition-winning shot were good.
“It looked like a pretty nice shot and I usually don’t shoot nice shots like that,” said Faircloth. “It was unexplainable. It was miraculous. It was really cool.”
Faircloth is a common sight at Belmont men’s and women’s basketball games and he said that he appreciates the support of the Belmont community.
“As far as the fans go, they erupted both times I won. They exploded and it was really special, not just at the time, but ever since. The love and support of the Belmont community, my family and my friends have shown me, it’s really been something special,” said Faircloth.