The EKU men’s basketball team may have come up short to Marshall in their Nov. 7 home opener, but one EKU student went home a winner.
Sameel Patel, a criminal justice major from London, made a half-court shot that went viral on the internet in minutes and earned him a new Ford EcoSport.
Patel said he and his friends heard about the prizes they were giving out at the game beforehand and decided to go.
“We heard about them giving away a car, $40,000, and a new TV, so we all went there and we wanted to watch the game,” Patel said.
EKU Athletics regularly gives away free t-shirts to students and fans at sporting events, but at this particular game, slips of paper were placed inside the t-shirts telling crowd members to go down to the court to attempt to win a prize.
Before he attempted the shot, Patel said he had to sign agreements and contracts stating he wasn’t an avid basketball player.
“The deal was that I couldn’t have played high school basketball for the last five years. They were asking for my high school and everything like that to make sure I didn’t,” Patel said.
Patel said he was nervous when he walked down to the court and was handed a microphone. That nervousness immediately melted away when he chucked up his shot from halfcourt and watched it bank off the backboard and into the net.
“I didn’t think it was going to go in. It had a little curve to it, but it just banked and went in. I just blanked out in my head, like I didn’t know what was going on, it was just crazy,” Patel said.
Patel quickly became an online celebrity, with media outlets like ESPN sharing the video. Even a typical trip to Wendy’s became a meet and greet.
“After the game, me and my friend went to Wendy’s and before we walked in, like two car loads asked me about it,” Patel said. “As soon as I went in a couple people asked me, and then coming out, another car load asked me what am I doing and said congratulations.”
Winning a new car was a huge perk for Patel, but he says he gained more from the experience.
“Money comes and goes, but getting on SportsCenter top ten, having Scott Van Pelt cover your shot, shooting that shot in front of President Benson and Gov. Bevin, having all my friends and family just texting me and calling me and having all my fraternity brothers there was just a priceless moment,” Patel said.
Patel was presented with his new EcoSport at Madison County Ford on Nov. 30. He hopes to eventually sell his new vehicle and profit from his lucky shot. Patel also said he will be attending more games in the future and will hopefully have more opportunities to win again.