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"Yeah, Gooseneck!" Dwight Howard Improves at the Line

Dec 6, 2006 – 12:23 AM
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Matt Watson

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Some players go for "Hibachi!", others prefer "Gongshow!", and now Dwight Howard has his own signature exclamation: "Gooseneck!" Huh? The Orlando Sentinel explains:
[After] making a free throw against the Seattle SuperSonics last Wednesday night, Howard took a few steps toward the basket, pumped his fist and yelled, "Yeah, gooseneck!"


Magic assistant coaches Randy Ayers and Mark Bryant have changed Howard's form on his free throws, encouraging him to get the ball up higher on his release with a follow-through called the "goosehead" technique.

When Howard releases the ball, he holds his hand and wrist at the top in the shape of a gooseneck until the ball hits the basket.

"We call it the 'goosehead,' but Dwight calls it the 'gooseneck,' " Ayers said, laughing. "The worst thing is that he has Grant [Hill] saying it now. . . . What it does is give Dwight a point of reference when he's shooting. We want him to get the ball higher [on his release]."
In all seriousness, anything that gets Dwight Howard's free-throw percentage up is a good thing. He's shooting 65.4% right now, and the team would like to get that mark above 70%, which would be a huge improvement from the 59.5% he shot last year. Plus, Howard already ranks 12th in the NBA in free-throw attempts per game (8.4), so even a slight uptick in his percentage should be noticed in his scoring average.

On a completely unrelated sidenote, your eyes aren't lying if you think Howard has bulked up since his rookie year. From the same article in the Sentinel, columnist Brian Schmitz notes:
Dwight Howard has increased his bench press more than 125 pounds since his rookie season, and he can now muscle up 365 pounds. Why then has he hired his own personal bodyguard? Must be gearing up for a groupie attack.
Filed under: Sports