C'mon, take a shot. Guess how many field goals Pete Buzby attempted yesterday in a Catholic Red basketball game.
Hint: Start low, then go lower.
The clock is ticking . . . time's up.
Answer: It's the number that starts with a "z," and we don't mean a zillion.
How does that happen? For Pete's sake, how does a kid who's almost always close to the basket, and rarely yields to a substitute, go through an entire game launching no shots?
"He doesn't have to."
Those words were spoken by William "Speedy" Morris, Buzby's coach at St. Joseph's Prep, moments after his Hawks completed a 60-43 win at Archbishop Ryan.
Buzby, a 6-3, 180-pound senior forward, claimed nine rebounds. Handled all of the inbounding chores in effective fashion. Quickly organized his teammates for mini-meetings during stoppages in play. Played great second-half defense against Ryan's chief weapon, sniper Anthony Keiter.
But again, he took zero shots from the floor. As in none. As in, that's incredible.
In his entire hoops life, had Buzby ever been so unselfish?
The question made him chuckle.
"Actually," he said, "that's probably the second time it has happened this season."
Buzby said he wasn't thinking about his absence of attempts as the game proceeded. But it was mentioned to him shortly after the conclusion and, yup, he surely couldn't think of any.
In the fourth quarter, the Hawks enjoyed a fastbreak and Buzby wound up with the ball a shade inside the foul line, on the left side of the lane. A drive for a layup would have made all kinds of sense.
Buzby, instead, fired a kick-out pass to Dan Fitzpatrick.
"He's one of our best shooters," Buzby said. "If Fitz is open, I'm always going to pass it to him. A three-pointer by him is one of the best shots we're going to get."
Just so there's no misunderstanding, Buzby did not head home with a goose-egg. After grabbing a defensive rebound with 3 minutes, 40 seconds left, he was fouled and then strode all the way upcourt for a one-and-one. Hit the first. Missed the second.
This was St. Joe's Red opener, so his league scoring average now stands at 1.0.
"From what I noticed, there weren't any shots that I should have taken," Buzby said. "I'm not out there trying to get mine. I never shoot too much. It's not that much of a surprise.
"My dad's always getting on me about passing up shots. I tell him, 'Hey, we're winning. Play defense and rebound. That's pretty much all I'm supposed to do.' If we can get a better shot from somebody else, why should I be hoisting?"
Buzby's career high is six points, accomplished once this season and once last year in a mopup role.
He remembers once scoring 14 in a JV game and even ch-chinging his way to 20 in a neighborhood summer league.
The Prep won this one mostly because it had two of the three players who finished with 19 points. Point guard Pat Stewart (also five assists) and junior wing marksman Joe Nardi (four treys) did so for the Hawks. Keiter also posted that total for Ryan.
Buzby defended Keiter in the early going, but the Prep mostly played zone in the second quarter and Keiter nailed three of his five threeballs. As the half ended, Keiter missed a three and then got a second, beyond-the-arc chance as the ball was batted out to him. Bingo! Prep headed to intermission with only a 30-27 lead.
"Coach decided to go back to man-to-man," Buzby said.
Ryan went 0-for-6 from the floor in the third quarter. Keiter did not get rolling again until the very late stages of the fourth, with the outcome already decided.
Mike Leithead, who began his high-school days at Ryan, scored seven of his nine points in the 19-3 third quarter. Stewart added six points and three assists. For Ryan, football quarterback Rus Slawter was a gamelong contributor with seven points, five assists, four steals and defensive hustle to eventually tone down Nardi.
Buzby, who lives in North Wales, figures he might turn his love of English into a career in writing. His other sport is volleyball, which he plays each spring on the CYO level.
Since there's no shooting to talk about, let's hear Pete Buzby's thoughts on rebounding.
"A lot of guys don't box out on defense," he said. "So I'll go in there and try to outjump guys. Maybe even tap it back out to myself."
Not with the idea of eventually shooting, though.
"That's not," he said, smiling, "why I'm out there." *