From the moment the basketball left the fingertips of Freddie Owens with one second remaining in Saturday's NCAA Tournament game, his life changed immediately.
Owens has received a lot of attention on and off campus as a starter for the UW basketball program, but this is a totally different story. Owens is the man that hit "the shot," perhaps the single biggest bucket in the history of the Badger program.
He has seen pictures of the shot and watched a replay on a computer on the flight home from Spokane, Was., but hasn't seen the game on television yet. But he has received constant reminders of the moment over the past few days.
"Right after the game ended, I turned my phone on, I had 25 or 30 unplayed messages," Owens said. "It's a great feeling to know that I made a lot of other people happy…everywhere I go, in class, walking around, everybody was saying, `Nice shot.'"
Owens' game-winning 3-pointer blew the roof off the state of Wisconsin, and the enthusiasm will continue to grow until it reaches a frenzy in the Metrodome Thursday night.
While Owens is focusing on the stiffest challenge of his life, the No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats, he did have a chance to enjoy the greatest moment of his sports career upon his return home Sunday.
He visited Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon, where he was thrown a surprise party.
"I'm thinking we were going to the movies – me, my cousins and my girlfriend. My cousins said they had to stop by their house first," Owens said. "I'm looking, and I see all of my family members, and it didn't even hit me. I'm like, `Hey, how are you guys doing?' Then I look to my left, and all of my friends that I grew up with are sitting there. I was very surprised. It was a great feeling."
But after eating lots of food and watching NCAA Tournament games with his friends and family Sunday, Owens got back to the business at hand Monday morning. The first priority is trying to get his ankle healthy.
He played around 75 percent against Tulsa after spraining his ankle badly against Weber State. The sprain covers the bottom of his ankle to the top of his heel.
"It was pretty bad when I first did it, but it's feeling better now," Owens said. "It's feeling great. I'm able to do a lot of the things that I couldn't do a couple of days ago. It's healing day-by-day.
Owens practiced last night and said he was feeling around 80-85 percent.
"Hopefully it will be (close to 100 percent)," Owens said. "But if not, so be it. I still have to suck it up and play. You can't try to baby it or anything like that. We have a huge game coming up."
"The Shot" Earns Owens Recognition
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