That D.C. teacher with the clutch shot? She’s from the Philly region.
Kathleen Fitzpatrick, the D.C. teacher who went viral with her crazy jump shot, is no stranger to clutch shooting having played basketball for St. Joseph’s University and then Rutgers.
Kathleen Fitzpatrick, 27, is no stranger to clutch shooting, having played basketball for the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur, St. Joseph’s University, and then Rutgers University.
Archival footage from a February 2018 game shows Fitzpatrick scoring a halftime buzzer-beater for the Division I Scarlet Knights in a game against the University of Maryland. But watching that footage on ESPN last week, Fitzpatrick said a now-viral shot captured earlier this month in front of a group of third graders she teaches in Georgetown brought far more pressure.
“I think that was more terrifying than the shot at Maryland,” she told former NBA player Vince Carter on ESPN’s SportsCenter.
A video, which went viral and was a catalyst for the media appearance, captured Fitzpatrick — known as Ms. Fitz to students — getting an assist from a third grader dressed as a reindeer and making a jump shot practically from the other end of the playground court.
On the line if she made the shot: a hot chocolate party for her students at Holy Trinity School.
“That’s more terrifying because 8- and 9-year-olds will never live it down,” Fitzpatrick said of a possible miss.
After Fitzpatrick got nothing but net, her students celebrated as though she’d just won the WNBA finals — jumping, dancing a bit, and shouting with joy.
Though students have always known their teacher likes the sport, Fitzpatrick told The Inquirer they probably didn’t comprehend just how much experience playing she has under her belt.
Fitzpatrick’s mother, Ellen, earned several accolades for her own basketball skills, including being inducted into St. Joseph’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006. Fitzpatrick, who would inherit her mother’s love of the sport and three-point accuracy, has been playing basketball for as long as she can remember.
The Drexel Hill native has long had a gift for making long-range shots. In 2012, The Inquirer published “Pa. high school player has a knack for threes,” after Fitzpatrick tied the school’s record for that shot. At the time, she told the paper she would take up to 3,000 shots a week during her workouts.
“The idea of me knowing that I can make trick shots just kind of came from growing up in the gym,” said Fitzpatrick, looking back at her years dedicated to practice.
That work would pay off on two fronts. Fitzpatrick excelled at her trick shots and led the St. Joseph’s Hawks in three-pointers and free-throw percentages her sophomore and junior years.
After Fitzpatrick went viral, Rutgers women’s basketball tweeted other moments where she casually landed tough shots for fun.
Fitzpatrick shared with The Inquirer three people who have influenced her career path and how she approaches it: They are Fitzpatrick’s father, who is a professor; mother, who is also a teacher at Holy Trinity, and the one who took the video of Fitzpatrick making the basket during recess; and Rutgers Hall of Fame coach Vivian Stringer.
Stringer “loved teaching the game of basketball but also teaching the game of life, and I think I’ve carried that with me as a teacher myself,” Fitzpatrick said.
Still, Fitzpatrick described being a teacher as a tough journey, especially in recent years.
“But these kids make it all worth it,” she said in an Instagram post, adding that maybe next time she can promise to cancel a week of homework if she makes a tough basket.