INDIANAPOLIS — After the official announcement of becoming a Hall of Famer, former Kentucky star Louie Dampier made a surprising confession Monday. He shot with two hands until his sophomore year of high school and never learned to shoot with textbook form.
Dampier, a member of the famed Rupp's Runts and arguably the best long-range shooter in UK history, said he originally copied how his future brother-in-laws shot for Southport High School in Indianapolis.
"They had a two-handed, over-the-head (shot)," he said while lifting both hands over his head. "And I did that until after my freshman year."
Dampier, who was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame by its American Basketball Association Committee, scored 1,575 points for Kentucky, which still ranks 12th on the program's career list. And that was before a three-point shot or freshman eligibility.
Dampier said he admired the textbook shooting form of UK freshman Devin Booker this season. Then he added, "Of course, my form, I'm not one to copy because I had my (right) elbow out all the time.
"You hear Dick Vitale always saying, 'Tuck!' 'He has it tucked.'"
Dampier noted that another sharpshooter, Reggie Miller, shot with his elbow away from his body.
"So you don't always have to tuck it," Dampier said with a smile.
When asked what shooters were role models, Dampier did not name an NBA star like Jerry West.
"My high school players in Southport High School," he said. "My mom started taking me to games when I was about 5 because I had three older sisters who were cheerleaders at the same time. So I started looking up to the high school players."
Dampier found it difficult to express how the little boy became a Hall of Famer.
"Kind of a shock," he said. "It hasn't set in yet. Maybe after we go through the (induction ceremony Sept. 10-11 in Springfield, Mass.) I'll realize, 'Hey, you're a Hall of Famer. You really are.'"
Dampier and UK Coach John Calipari become the ninth and 10th Hall of Famers with ties to UK. They follow Adolph Rupp, Cliff Hagan, Frank Ramsey, Dan Issel, C.M. Newton, Pat Riley, Adrian Smith and Rick Pitino.
Dampier chose Issel to introduce him at the induction.
"You know, it's the old cliché," Dampier said. "Being in with all those greats who I admired and watched play is just unbelievable."