In his postgame press conference Saturday after beating Colorado in Tempe, Arizona State basketball head coach Herb Sendek issued a heartfelt “thank-you” to those who had stuck by the program during the Sun Devils’ four-game slide and 1-4 conference opening.
“I can remember the days when we would play and there would be six students here,” said Sendek. “And we’ve come a long way since then.”
He was fondly referring to the campus’ signature stoked-squad, the 942 Crew. Named after the number of seats in the student section in Wells Fargo Arena, the group was created three seasons ago in a collaborative effort by Sendek and Associate AD Bill Kennedy alongside student input.
From its inception to setting ASU basketball’s student attendance record against Utah last week, the group has certainly come a long way.
And the 942 Crew’s notorious technique, the Curtain of Distraction, has too.
Often wacky and mostly just plain weird, the Curtain of Distraction is designed to throw off an opposing free-throw shooter. Two sets of curtains are brought out on either side of the basket when a rival player goes to the line, and whatever pops out next, well…you just have to see it for yourself:
It’s not just a (sometimes slightly frightening) gimmick, either. It actually works.
So far this season, only one team has faced the 942 Crew and escaped with over 80 percent of its free throws made in the second half (Pepperdine).
And though the Sun Devils lost to Utah last week, it wasn’t for lack of effort by the Curtain of Distraction — Utah was 12-of-12 from the line when facing away from the student section, and 11-of-18 in the second half when facing the 942 Crew and its antics.
Here’s the list of second-half free throw production out of teams who have faced the Curtain this season:
Bethune Cookman: 3/8 (37.5 percent)
Chicago State: 7/16 (43.75 percent)
Lloyola Marymount: 5/8 (62.5 percent)
Colgate: 7/12 (58.3 percent)
UNLV: 2/4 (50.0 percent)
Pepperdine: 11/13 (84.6 percent)
Lehigh: 5/9 (55.5 percent)
Detroit: 10/14 (71.4 percent)
Harvard: 4/7 (57.1 percent)
Utah: 11/18 (61.1 percent)
Colorado: 7/11 (63.6 percent)\
Overall, ASU’s opponents’ free throw average in the second half is 58.6 percent.
“I don’t know if I have a favorite (antic) yet,” said Sendek, who catches what the Curtain of Distraction pulls when he watches game film. “But I know it’s working.”