On free throws, Enfield is money in the bank

January 17, 1991|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Evening Sun Staff

At his present pace, Andy Enfield will leave Johns Hopkins this year as the all-time free throw percentage leader in NCAA history.

From the line, Enfield is close to automatic. He has missed only three of 63 attempts this season and 32 of 400 in his career.

With a month of the regular season remaining, Enfield's career free throw percentage is 92.0. The NCAA record of 91.6 was set by Kent Andrews of Division II McNeese State from 1967-69.

Greg Starrick, who played at Kentucky and Southern Illinois through 1972, holds the Division I record of 90.9. Elizabethtown's Doug Brown established the Division III mark of 90.3 from 1976-80.

"The record is definitely a goal," Enfield said after sinking four free throws in as many attempts in Johns Hopkins' 74-65 victory over visiting Washington College last night before a gathering of 375. "I would cherish it the rest of my life."

Enfield came by his shooting accuracy honestly. He learned from his father, Bill, who for 20 years has coached at Shippensburg (Pa.) Junior High School.

"I'd go to his practices all the time and shoot a lot on the side," Enfield said. "With his teaching, I developed a good shot."

And not just from the free throw line. Enfield, a 6-foot-1 senior, is Hopkins' all-time scoring leader with 1,698 points. For the third straight season, he is leading the Blue Jays in scoring, this time with a 20.2 average.

"It's pretty amazing when you consider he'll probably finish with over 1,900 points even though he averages only 12 shots a game," said coach Bill Nelson, noting Enfield's career field goal percentage of 51.8. "For a guy who's not a great athlete, he's having quite a career.

"He's not the best leaper on the team or the quickest player. But he's by far the hardest worker. His father put a court in their backyard and Andy made himself a good player."

Enfield scored 1,135 points in two varsity seasons at Shippensburg High, led the team to the Pennsylvania AAA quarterfinals and finished No. 1 in his class. He could have gone to a lower Division I school on a partial scholarship or to a Division II on a full ride.

"If I had gone to a bigger school, I probably would have sat for a while because I wasn't 6-4 or really quick," said Enfield, an economics major with a 3.4 grade-point average. "I knew Hopkins wasn't that good [6-18 the year before he arrived] and that I'd probably play.

"I'm happy I came here. Some people tell me I should have gone to a Division I school, but if I had to do it all over again, I'd come to the same place. This is fun, and that's what college basketball is supposed to be."

Enfield has tormented Washington College coach Tom Finnegan's teams for four years. It does not upset Finnegan that he will face Enfield only one more time.

"He's tough to defend against because he shoots so quick," Finnegan said. "He has great range and plays over a large area, which forces our defense out. He makes the other players better because opponents focus their concentration on him."

The Shoremen restricted Enfield to 14 points partly because Allen Lester and Greg Rogers shadowed him. Enfield is used to that now.

"They're all over me; I see the best defensive player every game," Enfield said. "I could have scored my 20 if I had wanted to, by taking the ball to the hoop, but forcing shots won't make us a better team."

At the end of last season, Nelson urged Enfield to play in a strong summer league in Washington to improve his defense and become a more complete player. He did and, according to Nelson, "has improved his defense tenfold."

An Ursinus coach told Hopkins assistant Bob McCone before their game last week that Enfield had improved his overall game so much that he was a factor even if he didn't score.

"That was a prophecy," McCone said. "Andy hardly scored, yet he was the key to our win."

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