Coach’s big shot wins student tuition

Former Southridge School coach Gil Cheung sinks ball from halfcourt to win contest for Brandon University student

Call it the shot heard ‘round the world.

Or the sports world, at least.

Last Friday, Brandon University Bobcats men’s basketball coach Gil Cheung – former girls hoops coach at Southridge School – sunk a miraculous shot from half court during the school’s Shooutout for Tuition contest, giving BU student Mason Kaluzniak free tuition for a semester at the Manitoba school.

Kaluzniak was chosen at random for the contest, with the stipulation being that he could take the shot himself, or let someone else shoot for him. He chose Cheung, a former Bobcats captain, who led Brandon to two national championships in his playing days, before turning to coaching.

The moment was captured on video – the 43-second YouTube clip had more than 1.8 million views by Peace Arch News’ deadline Wednesday afternoon.

In the clip, Cheung, wearing dress pants and a shirt and tie – he removed his jacket before walking to centre-court – steps to the centre line, dribbles the ball three times, then fires the shot.

“It’s close, it’s close, it’s close!” bellows the Brandon University public-address announcer.

Then, swish.

“He did it, he did it!”

After making the shot, Cheung, shirt now untucked, runs around the court, arms outstretched like a human airplane, before being mobbed by his players and Kaluzniak.

The incredible moment has garnered more than just online notoriety for Cheung and his school.

The former South Surrey coach’s feat was picked up by a number of news outlets in both Canada and the United States, including TSN, ESPN and USA Today.

“It has really taken off,” said Cheung, who took the reins of the Brandon men’s hoops team in 2010, after serving as a head coach at both Douglas College and Southridge School and as an assistant coach at Simon Fraser University.

On Wednesday, Cheung and Kaluzniak were interviewed by Soledad O’Brien on the CNN talk show, Starting Point.

It was on that show that Kaluzniak admitted he chose Cheung to shoot for him simply because he knew him.

“I never really thought it was going to happen, so I figured I might as well pick a friend of mine, and if he misses, he misses, and I can bug him a little bit,” Kaluzniak told CNN.

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