Coach Gil Cheung’s mid-court shot that won Brandon’s Mason Kaluzniak free tuition for a semester during halftime of Friday night’s Brandon University Bobcats men’s basketball game has done a lot more to raise the school’s profile than anyone expected.
As of Monday night, video of Cheung’s shot had received more than 1.1 million views on YouTube and had also been covered by CNN, the USA Today and ESPN, among others. This morning, Cheung is scheduled to be interviewed live on CNN with Soledad O’Brien.
"It’s ridiculous," said Cheung. "(Friday) night I saw it on Twitter and when I got back to the office, my phone was blown up with Twitter and Facebook stuff. Then I woke up in the morning and it was all over the place."
As part of the Smitty’s Shoot-out for Tuition contest, Kaluzniak, a physical education student, was given the option to shoot from half court or pick anyone in BU’s new Healthy Living Centre to make the shot for his winter semester tuition.
Kaluzniak chose Cheung — his former professor and the head coach of the Bobcats men’s basketball team — and he made the shot. The event was recorded at the game and it didn’t take long for it to go viral on the Internet.
While Cheung is surprised with how popular the video of his shot and the ensuing celebration — which included himself, Kaluzniak and Bobcat players — became, he thinks it’s great for the university.
"We’re a smaller university and a smaller community compared to a lot of CIS schools," he said. "It shows how tight-knit your community is that a student would pick someone who is a coach and a professor at a university. It brings positive exposure to the university and it speaks a lot about the university that we find the sponsor that’s good enough to pay for a kid’s tuition.
" … It’s something that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives. You get to help a kid out, but at the same time the exposure for the university really helps out with the (website) hits."