Within the last year, I was fortunate enough to partner with an incredible organization founded by 2 of my favorite people in the world, Justin and Lindsey Kittredge, called Shooting Touch. In short, Shooting Touch uses basketball as a tool to educate and empower children and teens using the sport of basketball not only in Boston, MA but in Rwanda. Each year they hold “The Shooting Touch Shootout,” a high school basketball tournament invitational which always includes the national power house St. Anthonys of New Jersey, coached by basketball Hall of Famer and Shooting Touch board member, Bob Hurley.
I was asked to come by the tournament to take some photographs and help with the social media. When I arrived I was given full access to the entire court, facilities, sidelines, etc. A local cable station, COX, of Rhode Island was even there to broadcast 2 games live, one of which was the St. Anthony's game. I practiced with photographing from various angles the first few games. The last time I had photographed a full speed game was in Kayonza, Rwanda – the conditions were a little different. This time we were inside Tufts University's facilities which were a little old and dimly lit. This meant I had to grab some prime lenses and shoot the game at high ISO, but I'll keep it at that for the technical end of this blog.
It was finally time for the big show, the St. Anthony's Game. By this time the facility was jam packed with spectators and media that I had not seen present before. The game started and there was a clear difference in skill between St. Anthonys and their opponent, St. John's Prep. It was like watching a high school team battling Calipari's Wildcats. They were running up and down the floor draining threes, landing monster blocks and running up the score at the same time. At this point I was on the sideline capturing some shots showing the bench reaction to the mayhem. When I dropped my head down for one split second I heard the crowd erupt and I jolted back up to catch the tail end of a monster dunk. I was pissed, I missed it! I ran over to the base line of the hoop St. Anthony's was attacking and hoped for another. I sat their patiently, snapping off a few shots of free throws and drives but there wasn't another jam for quite a bit of time. At this point, a man I had not noticed before snuck in around me and started snapping off some photos as well. I didn't think anything of it but gave him a pleasant “bro nod” and we kept on shooting. Then it happened. St. Anthony's Jagen Mosley, drove to the hoop, launched from the foul line and threw down the most insane dunk I had ever seen from a high school kid, hell even in college. I instantly turned to the man next to me, as did he with his jaw dropped, and then we both looked down on our preview screens. Before, I even pulled up my preview he asked “did you get it?” I sorted through the sequence and saw it. A perfectly grabbed soaring shot of Jagen flying towards the hoop. I showed the man next to me and he said “holy shit, can you send that to me?” Without giving me time to respond he showed me his business card which read in large letters ESPN. Come to find out his name is Brendan Hall and he is the Editor/writer of ESPN Boston's High School section. He missed the photo, but thats not to diminish his skills. The man was trying to write notes, photograph, and experience the game all at the same time. He kindly told me I would get full credit if he could use the shot in his article and I agreed immediately. That night I sent him about 20 selects from the tournament. I woke up to a big thank you email from Brendan with a link to his article. He used two of my photos. Under them read Chris Cardoza for ESPN.