When Dan Ray was picked to shoot the half-court shot for $10,000, he told a girl sitting behind him he would split the prize with her if he won.
Little did Ray know, he would end up being the first Temple student to make the shot in the contest’s history.
The media studies and production major with a business minor came to Temple from Cumberland, Maine for Philadelphia’s “large job market.”
“I was looking to go out of state and blaze my own trail,” Ray, a freshman, said.
On the production track in the MSP program, Ray said he would like to write, produce and organize nightly news. Ray lives in the School of Media and Communication Living Learning Community and is a weekly anchor for Temple Update and a regular production assistant on the show.
On Feb. 1, Ray and a friend attended the women’s basketball game against the University of Connecticut.
“We thought it’d be a cool experience to go see them play,” Ray said.
Ray said he didn’t plan to stay for the entirety of the game because of homework. He also wanted to watch and support the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl that night.
But because UConn’s women’s basketball team is ranked No. 1 overall nationally, Ray said his friend made him stay.
The freshman MSP major was sitting at the end of a row in the Liacouras Center stadium seating. Ray was approached by Temple Athletics marketing interns and was asked to take a shot after halftime at half-court for a prize of $10,000.
“I never played organized basketball in my life,” Ray said.
Back at home in Maine, Ray has a basketball hoop in his driveway and said he has made half-court shots while playing with friends before. Still, he said he thought it was “going to be a long shot.”
Ray said he wanted to take the shot “for his family.” He plans to use the $10,000 for college tuition.
“I was pretty much in shock,” said freshman journalism major Jonathan Gilbert, who attended the game with Ray. “I was filming it for him, but my jaw pretty much dropped, and I was just dumbfounded.”
The arena erupted, Ray said, and he took a lap around the court. A photo of him screaming has turned into an Internet sensation on Reddit.
“I’ve never been the focus of attention like that,” Ray said.
Ray told his parents by sending them the video recording of his shot with a text that read, “Hey I just won ten grand.”
Ray was soon bombarded by text messages.
The freshman MSP major hasn’t received the check yet, but isn’t too concerned, he said.
“I honestly don’t care, because it’s all going toward my tuition anyway, because I don’t need the money at all,” Ray said. “Just knowing it is there is a good feeling.”
Emily Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org