Nothing foul about his shots - The Explorer: Sports

Nothing foul about his shots

William Killian, 70, has made 100 straight … more than 50 times

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, December 23, 2009 12:00 am | Updated: 1:35 pm, Mon Apr 18, 2011.

William Killian always has had a passion for theater and basketball.

The 70-year-old Indiana native spent 52 years in theater activities, including live stage, television and movies. You may have seen him in Streetcar Named Desire at Arizona Theater Company, or in On Golden Pond or A Christmas Carol with the Catalina Players, among others.

He also played basketball in the tiny Indiana community of Tyner, 35 miles southwest of South Bend, at Indiana Wesleyan College and one year in the Continental League, one of the predecessors to the present NBA Developmental League.

Oh, yes! Killian also is an ordained Methodist clergyman. He was pastor at three Chicago area congregations before a stint as chaplain at a Catholic hospital in Anderson, Ind. The chaplain work is what brought him to Tucson in 1980: a position he held for 20-plus years at Tucson Medical Center.

Some friends also call him The Free Throw Doctor – and he's still using that tag.

"Back in March 1987, Indiana beat Syracuse in the NCAA basketball championship game. Keith Smart made a 16-foot baseline jump shot from the left-hand corner with five seconds left to seal a 74-73 win. It was perfect form."

That shot proved to be a real turn-on for Killian. "After the game, I went to Cross Junior High (not far from his home near the Ina / La Cañada intersection) and made 54 free throws in a row."

Thus the start of his obsession with the science of shooting and making free throws.

Over the last 20 years, he's read many of the experts – including full-time Dallas Mavericks free throw coach Gary Boren – and devised his own nine-point method for making the 15-foot shot from the free throw line. And he's good at it too, making about 28 of 30 attempts while explaining his theory.

Killian's keys to ongoing success?

"Fluidity and authority with the legs as the factory for energy. The perfect shot should hit only net and come straight back to you at the shooting line." The entire process needs to be internalized. Killian says he thinks of "only one or two points" while making the shot.

"You know basketball players in general are terrible at the free throw line. Average accuracy is only 62 percent for high school, 66 percent for college and 72 percent for the pros."

His "office" the past 10 years is the YMCA gym at 7770 N. Shannon Road. He says he's probably worked with 250 youth on free throwing execution.

"Recently, I was helping a 16-year-old boy and, after some practice, he made 38 in a row. Then he told me that he'd never had such a 'high' in his life. These days, you just can't ask for a 'high' that better than that."

In another case, he says a youth improved his free throw shooting from 48 to 80 percent in one night. But Killian adds, "That's a very rare occurrence."

Why keeps him going with this free throw obsession? "I feel I can do it well – and also enjoy helping other people."

His current proficiency record is 192 in a row. More than 50 times he's made 100 in a row.

A future goal: "When I turn 100 years old, I want to be able to make 100 in a row." It didn't seem like a frivolous comment.

© 2014 The Explorer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More about

More about

More about

Welcome to the discussion.

Kino College

Kino CollegeEnroll today:

HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)


Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions


MOS: U of A Football

We asked students about the University of Arizona's football game against Cal.

MOS: Storms and Floods

We asked the community about the coming floods and storms.

More Featured Videos

Follow us on Facebook