The college basketball season is in full swing, and though most of the memorable moments are usually left for March Madness, we’ve already got a play this year that should go down in the history books.
Purdue Fort Wayne was facing off against Southern Indiana in a good, old fashioned Ohio Valley Conference matchup (I say that facetiously because those two teams just recently moved to the OVC during the mass chaos of conference realignment) when the iconic “shoe block” took place.
There are only a few plays in sports history that are known by a dramatic nickname. You’ve got “The Shot,” “The Catch,” and now, you’ve got “The Shoe Block.” Southern Indiana’s Jack Campion was passed the ball on the perimeter, and he thought he had the upper hand (or upper foot) when he saw the Purdue Fort Wayne defender Rasheed Bello had lost one of his shoes.
Campion drove past Bello and into the lane, and rose up for a mid-range jumper, assuming that Bello would be left in the dust since he was shoe-less. However, Bello quickly caught up to Campion, and with his shoe in his hand, he jumped up and blocked the Southern Indiana guard’s shot…with the sneaker.
Stan Gouard, Southern Indiana’s head coach, told the media after the game:
“I’ve never seen that before in my life, and even the referee said he’s never seen it before. A first in my 25 years of coaching. Never saw it before.”
You can view the wild (and possibly illegal) defensive play below:
Though many sports fans would assume that the play would somehow be “voided,” the public address announcer at the game stated the “shoe block” was allowed because Bello did not throw his sneaker in order to interfere with the shot. Still though, seems like it could have been an extension of the players arm, and thus could have helped him block his opponent.
The whole thing reminds me of an iconic scene from one of my all-time favorite movies Semi-Pro. If you haven’t seen it, you simply have to seek it out and find time to watch it. This scene below is about the “creation of the alley-oop,” and the referee’s reaction to the play is probably similar to how the ref felt when he saw the “shoe block.”