Jordan Bohannon has made his last 32 free throw attempts for the Iowa men’s basketball team, and that’s good. Very good.
If he makes his next two, Linn-Mar High graduate Bohannon will tie the Hawkeyes’ record of 34 set by Chris Street over the last six games he played before his 1993 death. But he’ll still be 99 (gulp!) shy of the high mark at any level of American basketball, preps to pros. Which happens to be held by a fellow Iowan.
Deb Remmerde (now Deb Remmerde-Leusink) of Rock Valley made 133 straight foul shots for NAIA Northwestern College in Orange City in 2006. That broke the previous-mark of 126 by Daryl Moreau of New Orleans De La Salle High School, set in 1978-79.
How much attention did Remmerde get during her streak?
“A ton,” she said with a laugh while remembering it Thursday. “When I ended up missing one, CBS’ “The Early Show” called. Throughout the streak, there was a lot of talk about it.”
Paul Cluxton holds the men’s collegiate mark at 94, in 1996-97 at Northern Kentucky when it was a Division II school.
The NBA’s record is 97, set 25 years ago by Micheal Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Big Ten men’s record is 58, which Indiana’s Jordan Hulls claimed in 2011.
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The most-serious threat to Remmerde-Leusink’s record came just three months ago. Monica Burns of NCAA Division II Wheeling Jesuit University had her free throw streak halted at 118 straight.
Last season, Peter Jok set the Iowa men’s single-season record by making 91.1 percent of his free throws. Over his last two seasons, he had streaks of 28, 27, 26 and 25 in a row.
Bohannon has just two free throws over the last six games. He hasn’t missed since last Dec. 22 against Colorado in Sioux Falls, S.D. His last miss in Carver-Hawkeye Arena was last Nov. 16.
“To be honest with you,” Remmerde-Leusink said, “if we hear on TV that someone’s on a streak in the NBA or college, my husband and I will look at each other like ‘Oh, 40 in a row, whatever.’ We’ll look at each other and laugh a little bit.”
So how did she make 133 straight, let alone became a 95.8 percent career foul-shooter?
“First of all, I loved the game,” Remmerde-Leusink said. “God blessed me with a love of the game, and that led me to want to be as good as I possibly could be.
“I spent hours and hours and hours shooting thousands and thousands and thousands of shots. Specifically, free throws.”
She had been an assistant coach at Northwestern until two years ago when she stepped away to devote herself full-time to raising her family. She has three children age 4 and younger.
“I’ve worked with a lot of kids in basketball,” she said, “and I always sold repetition in free throws, a routine. It’s having the same exact routine every time, whether it’s in the driveway or in a national-championship game. With me, it was two dribbles, gathering myself a little bit, and shooting.
“I fully expected to make every free throw I shot.”
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By the way, Remmerde-Leusink was a player, not a shooter. She averaged 28.7 points in her Northwestern career and is the all-time NAIA Division II leading scorer. She was on Iowa’s team for a semester, but suffered a stress fracture in her left foot and transferred to Northwestern.
She was the 2003 Iowa Miss Basketball at Rock Valley, where she played for three state-championship teams. That’s where she lives with her family.
“I love basketball,” she said, “but I could not be happier right now with my kids. I absolutely am loving being a mom.”
Since Bohannon has averaged two free throw tries per game in his career, it would take him a good while to approach 133 in a row. But if he does get close ...
“I’ll do my absolute best to be there if he’s getting close to the record,” Remmerde-Leusink said. “I wish him well. Any sort of streak like that is something to be proud of.”
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