Have you ever seen a basketball player throw a pass to himself off an opponent’s head? No?
Well, that’s exactly what happened during an NBA G-League game on Thursday night. It almost certainly wasn’t on purpose, but it worked!
The Memphis Hustle was playing the Capitanes in Mexico City when the unusual play proceeded to unfold. Memphis center Darnell Cowart, who played at Murray State alongside Ja Morant, had the ball in an isolation setting on the far right corner.
With nowhere to go and a defender backing him down, Cowart tried to throw a pass back across the court to one of the Hustle’s primary ball-handlers. Instead, the screaming line drive pass nailed Capitanes forward Gary Clark, who played his college ball at Cincinnati, right in the head.
Considering that the trajectory of the pass was off target and Clark was not expecting to get drilled, the ball could have gone anywhere. It could have bounced off the top of his head and into the air, it could have gone flying out of bounds.
Neither of those things occurred and the G-League got weird.
Instead, the pass ricocheted off Clark’s noggin and took a very direct, simple path right back to Cowart. He had to reach up and pull down the unintentional self-pass, but he was completely uncontested in doing so and the Mexico City defense didn’t know what happened.
Nobody did— until Cowart caught the ball and regained possession.
As the defense came to its senses, it lost track of Memphis forward Damien Jefferson, a 25-year-old out of Creighton. He cut toward the hoop while the Capitanes scrambled to figure out what was going on, caught a simple chest pass from Cowart, and scored on an uncontested one-hand jam.
Everybody in the arena was in awe and former Illinois guard Alfonso Plummer, who was tasked with guarding Jefferson, had the ultimate expression of disbelief. Cowart, on the other hand, ran back down the court as if it was his plan to throw a pass off of Clark’s head all along. It wasn’t, but it was awesome.