Where were you for THE SHOT?
The photo of Tyler Griffey’s game-winning layup to beat No. 1 Indiana last season is immortalized on the wall at the Ubben Basketball Complex. It’s one of the signature moments of the John Groce era at Illinois and was named play of the year for the 2012-13 season by CBS. With Tom Crean and the Hoosiers returning to Champaign for today’s Big Ten opener, college basketball writer Marcus Jackson breaks down the photo of that final play with updates on the 10 players on the court — and of some of lucky observers who had really nice seats for a shot few will forget.
Joseph Bertrand, Illinois
— Now a fifth-year senior, the 6-foot-6 guard has started every game this season for the Illini and is third on the team averaging 10.8 points per game.
Will Sheehey, Indiana
— The swingman scored 13 points off the bench for the Hoosiers that night and he enters today third on the team in scoring at 10.8 points per game.
Tyler Griffey, Illinois
— Entered the Indiana game having missed 20 straight three-pointers, he made two, scored 14 points, including the winning bucket at the buzzer. Currently averaging 10.9 points, playing his first professional season for Swans Gmunden in the Austrian basketball league.
Brandon Paul, Illinois
— Paul, who scored 21 points and had three assists, delivered a perfectly timed bounce pass to Griffey from the out-of-bounds corner. The guard is averaging 7.1 points per game playing professionally for Nizhny Novgorod of the Russian Professional Basketball League.
Victor Oladipo, Indiana
— His block of a D.J. Richardson runner stopped the clock at 0.9 seconds to set the stage for the final play. The consensus first-team All-American went on to be the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft and is 13.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists as a rookie for the Orlando Magic.
Christian Watford, Indiana
— The forward, who was initially guarding Griffey on the play, switched off to a flashing D.J. Richardson, allowing Griffey to slip free to the basket. Watford is averaging 10.1 points and 5.3 rebounds for Hapoel Eilat of the Israeli Super League.
D.J. Richardson, Illinois
— Senior, who scored eight of his game-high 23 points in the final two minutes, picked Oladipo’s pocket with five seconds left to give the Illini the final possession. Averaged 14 points and 3.5 assists playing for UBC Magnofit Gussing Knights in the Austrian A League on a temporary contract. Back in the States awaiting his next basketball opportunity.
Yogi Ferrell, Indiana
— The last Indiana player to make contact with Griffey before he flashed into the lane, Ferrell had seven points and four assists against the Illini. As a sophomore, the starting point guard leads the Hoosiers in scoring (16.8) and assists (4.2) this season.
Sam McLaurin, Illinois
— The power forward set a screen causing a traffic jam with himself, Ferrell and Watford helping spring Griffey free. After averaging 13.2 points and 7.6 rebounds for Korihait in Finland, the one-year Illini is planning a return to Champaign soon to begin rehabbing a torn meniscus with the hopes of returning overseas to continue his career.
Cody Zeller, Indiana
— Griffey slid free behind the Preseason Big Ten Player of the Year, who scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the game, on his way to the bucket. Zeller, a consensus second-team All-American, was the fourth overall pick in the NBA draft where he’s averaging 5.3 points and 4.2 rebounds for the Charlotte Bobcats.
— Then a sophomore, the starting point guard watched the closing minutes as the backcourt trio of Richardson, Paul and Bertrand combined to score 51 points. A go-to scorer for this year’s Illini, the 6-foot-2 junior is second on the team in scoring (12.7) and leads in assists (3.2).
— Seen here wearing an orange sweater, the Drake transfer was seen later celebrating topless in the Illinois locker room after a game he was forced to watch because of NCAA transfer rules. In his first season on the court with Illinois, the Champaign native leads the team and ranks second in the Big Ten in scoring (18.2).
— New-Gazette photographer’s photo of the game-winner from under the basket led our section the following morning.
— Tyler’s father watched the winning shot from the front row, then stood and watched with tears in his eyes as his son was lifted onto the shoulders of fans and carried around the court.
— While most others who rushed the floor went right to center court, Illinois’ backup quarterback made a beeline for Brandon Paul, tackled the Illini guard and celebrated with him in the Orange Krush’s sideline seats.
Cliff Paul Jr., Cliff Paul Sr., Lynda Paul
— Brandon’s family watched from their regular seats in the corner of the friends and family section as their brother/son delivered a bounce pass on the money to the streaking Griffey to set off the celebration.
— The Illinois athletic director, like he does at all games, abandoned his A-Section seat to position himself neat the tunnel to shake hands with the players and coaches on their way into the locker room. He joined in the on-court celebration.
— The director of athletic bands watched the conclusion of the play just a few feet away from Brandon Paul before immediately turning to his performers to begin leading them in a rousing rendition of “Oskee Wow-Wow”
— The Urbana Uni High grad and then-president of the Illini Pride kicked off the game with a rousing rendition of the National Anthem and then stormed the court after the shot in his shirt and tie.
— The official, whose blond ‘do is always perfectly combed, tried the thwart the celebration by repeatedly blowing his whistle to inform everyone in attendance the shot would be reviewed to see if it indeed beat the buzzer. By the time he made it official, the celebration was in full swing.