2 college students win free tuition on unlikely half-court shots

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – During Monday night’s Bluenanza event at ETSU, two underclassmen were given a chance to try a half-court shot to win a full scholarship for the Spring semester.

When both of their shots missed, they got a second chance; except this time, they could pick an ETSU basketball player to shoot for them.

Senior TJ Cromer and JUCO transfer Devontavius Payne both shot from half court and made it to win the scholarship for Pearson and Pack.

One day later, Jeremiah Pearson and Garrett Pack still can’t believe they won free tuition at ETSU.

“Some dude just told me to let him shoot it,” Pack explained. “So I did and he happened to make it.”

Photo: WJHL
Photo: WJHL

“I was in shock,” Pearson said. “I was like, did this really just happen? Is this like a dream or is this for real?”

ETSU Athletic Director Dr. Richard Sander said they have been doing this for five years at Bluenanza and no one has ever come close to winning the prize.

He said both basketball players were very confident about making their shots anyway.

“Payne made the first one and he kind of said, ‘Yeah, I’m going to make this,’” Sander said. “TJ said he was going to guarantee that he made it and sure enough, he knocked the bottom out.”

As for paying the scholarship, Dr. Sander said his department is glad to help.

“It hurts the ole budget a little bit, you know what I mean? But it was well worth it because we got tremendous exposure, a lot of social media coverage.”

The students are just thankful that this long shot ended up falling their way.

“For somebody to actually make it and get the scholarship is amazing,” Pearson said. “Especially for me to be one of the first people in five years to get the scholarship.”

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