Shootout Notebook:Big-money shot falls far short

Beth Bragg,Jeremy Peters

Mitchell Butler didn’t make the shot that would have made him a millionaire at the Shootout, but he hit a couple of layups that will let him lie around this winter.

Butler, 25, was the random winner of a drawing that gave him a shot at a million bucks — a 70-foot shot in the GCI Million-Dollar Shot Contest, held during halftime of Saturday’s championship game.

He missed badly — everybody misses badly, at least in the history of this contest — but he sank three shots from under the basket to collect three other prizes offered by GCI that together make up a decent couch-potato kit: A Sony Xperia tablet, a year of the Starz premium movie channel and two free videos on demand. 

Butler didn’t feel like he’d lost a million dollars, because he never thought he’d win it. 

“I’m not really anticipating getting it,” he said before taking the court. “My church has a gym and I went there today and didn’t make a single shot.”

Still, he had a hard time staying calm, although he said he wasn’t nervous. “I guess antsy might be a better word,” he said.

“My mind’s been racing. I can’t even sleep too well,” said Butler, who works for Alaska USA and attends Independent Baptist Church of Anchorage. “I’ve never entered anything in my life, but I’m getting a big kick out of it.”

Butler was the first contestant since GCI took over the contest, which for years sponsored by Vito’s Auto Sales. Once the three-quarter shot is missed, the contestant can win a variety of other prizes for making 3-pointers, free throws or layups. It was a bit of bad timing for Butler, because when Vito Ungaro was the sponsor, he often awarded cars to people who hit those shorter shots.

2014 Shootout field

The Carrs-Safeway Great Alaska Shootout field for next year will include a member of the Pac-12 on the men’s side and an Ivy League team in the women’s tournament. 

Washington State is one of seven Division I men’s teams UAA will host, joining Colorado State, Mercer, Missouri State, Pacific, Rice and UC Santa Barbara. 

Yale will be part of the four-team women’s event, along with host UAA, Boise State and Long Beach State.

Worth repeating

• “We saw a moose cross the road, which was mind-blowing.” — Pepperdine coach Marty Wilson.

• “You know what D.C. stands for, don’t you? District of Confusion.” — Georgetown coach Jim Lewis of Washington, D.C., where Georgetown is located.

• “It was my freshman year and in my first game I played against Len Bias. That was an eye-opener, trying to guard that guy. Walking into the gym brought back a lot of memories. Every coach wants to be on that wall (of championship banners).” — Tulsa coach Danny Manning talking about his 1984 Shootout appearance with Kansas.

• “Please go in?” — UAA guard Brian McGill when asked what went through his mind as he launched a 50-footer at the buzzer in UAA’s 73-70 first-round loss to TCU.

• “We practice it. It’s not something we decided to go to in a timeout or at halftime.” — Harvard coach Tommy Amaker on the success of the 2-3 zone defense used in a semifinal win over Green Bay.