COLUMBIA — At the end of a pregame shootaround before the start of the Missouri men's basketball team's game Wednesday against Colorado, Zaire Taylor slowly separates himself from his teammates. He quickly turns and runs toward the visiting team's bench, more than five feet away from the 3-point line. A manager instinctively delivers a crisp pass to Taylor’s chest. With a flick of his wrist, Taylor swishes the ball through the net. The student section cheers.
“They (managers) know. They keep the ball for me and wait until I get my last shot,” Taylor said. “It’s an understood thing.”
Taylor has been shooting the last pregame shot since the start of last season. While some players like guard Kim English, listen to the same music before every game, Taylor wanted his own pregame ritual. Missouri manager Josh Dinkins said that the idea seemed like a natural fit for Taylor, who often goes out of his way to play one-on-one with the ball boys before games.
“He’s just always trying to mess with people. He should probably spend a little more time shooting regular threes than those buzzer beaters right before he goes into the locker room,” Dinkins said loudly teasing a laughing Taylor as he walked by.
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