Photos courtesy of the NBA and Getty Images.
NBA Finals would be dream backdrop for Kinsey to repeat title-winning shot
By Larry Di Giovanni
With barely a second left, Gamecock Tarence Kinsey arched a three-pointer in Madison Square Garden, a shot that made the University of South Carolina the National Invitation Tournament champion in March 2005.
"I am going to start dreaming on that right now."
Now a reserve guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers--a team with the NBA’s best regular season-record for 2008-09 at 66-16, and one of the favorites to win the championship--Kinsey hopes for a repeat performance. He relishes the thought of sinking a game winner if the Cavaliers advance to the NBA Finals in June. The team is led by league MVP LeBron James, a phenomenal talent.
“I am going to start dreaming on that right now,” Kinsey said during an interview as the Cavaliers prepared for their second-round playoff opponent, the Atlanta Hawks. He could become only the third former Gamecock to win an NBA championship.
'Big-time game and stage'
Toward the end of the 2005 NIT final, Kinsey was getting tired, having played tight defense all game against St. Joseph’s standout Pat Carroll. At 6 feet, 6 inches, lean, and long-limbed, Kinsey was dubbed a defensive “stopper,” not a shooter.
He proved the description wrong. Coach Dave Odom briefly considered a timeout but let Kinsey dribble all the way up the court before hitting the clutch shot.
“That was probably number one, my most memorable moment as a South Carolina Gamecock. I was thinking that I didn’t want it to go into overtime. It was a big-time game and stage. We won the game as a very focused team,” Kinsey says.