Well, it’s been a minute since the last Tobias Ten, as I left for break and could not cover any of Missouri’s home or away games. However, this did not stop me and the entire photo department (still just me) from trying. When I found myself back on campus, I was able to make it to two women’s basketball games; a couple in-state contests against SEMO and Missouri State. I also caught the men’s team’s exciting victory over Wichita State. Who doesn’t love some college hoops!
As I prepare to go on a long winter break where I’ll be shifting my focus from Tigers to Terrapins, these are my ten favorite images that I took this week covering Missouri athletics: the Tobias Ten.
- The Low Angle Theory
When one photographs basketball as often as I do, it’s possible to get repetitive, shooting from the same seat next to the court every game. Thus, I’ve been thinking of ways to get more interesting shots and angles. In this case, I put the camera directly on the ground, as wide as my lens could go, and shot upward. When forward Hannah Linthacum reached for a loose ball right near me, it worked just as I drew it up.
Looking at this image later, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a steal like this. Mama Dembele reached right through the defender’s hands and grabbed the ball mid-dribble. Sadly, her leg got trapped in the other player’s legs and she took a hard fall, but this didn’t stop Dembele from finishing the game two rebounds short of a triple double.
3. Open the Bates
Not all sports photography is peak action and the big play. Sometimes something interesting happens away from the main stage and can be even more compelling than whatever play may be going on. In this case, it was Tamar Bates shouting out Jordan Butler as Butler entered the game.
4. Whose house???
I don’t know if Missouri-Missouri State is a rivalry. But I will say this, the players were more fired up about taking the lead over our Springfield compatriots than I’ve seen them in a few games. I’d be remiss if I failed to notice and capture Abbey Schreacke’s great celebrations after every Mizzou score. Bonus: The scoreboard behind Schreake is blurry, but anybody could make out that the Missouri score is made up of two digits, while the Mo. State score is but one.
5. Last week, messed around and got a triple double
By the time there were five or so minutes left in the fourth quarter of the Missouri State game, all that anyone in the photo row was talking about was Mama Dembele’s statline: 10 points, 12 assists, eight rebounds. We all were rooting for her to stay in, but coach Robin Pingeton took her out long after victory was assured.
It was reminiscent of— wait, no, it was exactly like the time the Dodgers took out Clayton Kershaw while he had pitched seven perfect innings. All things considered, Dembele earlier this season had a game with 12 points and ten steals (!!!) so there may be another opportunity for her down the stretch.
6. What, a crossover episode?
Last week, when the men’s team played Wichita State, Mizzou hoops legend Norm Stewart visited Mizzou Arena to talk to the crowd and promote the charity which he is a part of, Coaches Against Cancer. At the same game, Cody Schrader and the football team, who earlier that day had found out they were bound for the Cotton Bowl, made an appearance as well. So it was only fitting that the past and present of Missouri greatness met at that game.
A great sports photog once told me that a really great sports photo was one where you could get the photo to look like an entirely different sport. In this case, Aidan Shaw’s reeling in of a high pass certainly reminded me of Brett Norfleet’s jumping grabs in the end zone.
8. Hey, wrestling doesn’t start yet!
Not many scenarios in hoops that produce more interesting images than two or more players wrestling over the ball. You can have your slam dunks, I’ll take grabbing and elbowing all day. Missouri forward Hayley Frank came up with the ball in the end.
9. Framing, framing, framing!
In introductory photo classes, basic techniques are often taught such as the Rule of Thirds, and Leading Lines, and things like that. Many of these end up going out the window when one is shooting sports, for the object is to point at the guy with the ball and click a lot of frames. It’s fun to use these techniques when I can, though, framing Dennis through a Mizzou and a Wichita State player. Whatever Dennis was thinking about, though, it sure looks important.
10. Which way, coach?
Some coaches subscribe to the Dean Smith/John Wooden school of coaching thought, where the coach is patient, with a focus on teaching the game the right way. Others love the Bobby Knight style, where the idea is winning over everything. Based on Dennis Gates’ constant shows of support for his players, he certainly seems to prefer the Wooden way. But on the court, he and his assistants certainly don’t shy away from Knight-like direction when things aren’t going as they should. Here’s associate head coach C.Y. Charlton directing traffic on the floor against Wichita State.