Posted: Wednesday, 27 February 2013 2:21PM

Athlete of the Week: Thatch Unruh, Branson Basketball

Shooters aren’t born; they are made.  Although if you know anything about the Unruh family, you’d swear that they have some sort of “shooter gene.”  First there was Tate who is currently playing at Northern Colorado.  And now there’s Thatch, senior sharpshooter at Branson.

“Me, as a kid, going into my brothers workouts and watching him and my dad workout gave me the inspiration to what to be good someday,” the younger Unruh said.

But becoming one of the area’s best shooters took more than inspiration, it took hours and hour of hard work.

“He puts in the time.  There’s no magic wand in basketball," Branson coach Brian McTague said. "The kids that put in the time to get better shoot it a lot.”

And shoot is what Unruh does.

“During the season maybe 150-200 (makes per day);  Offseason, probably 500 makes a day," Unruh said of his shooting routine.

That kind of preparation has paid off in a big way, as Unruh’s hot shooting helped lead Branson to the COC-Large title this season.

“He just wants to win," McTague said.  "On nights when he’s really hitting, he can hit 5, 6, 7 shots pretty easily.”

“When it’s coming off clean, and I’m getting the ball high, and I’m getting my feet set, I feel like it’s going in every time,” Unruh said.

And when it’s mattered most, Unruh has come through.  The best example being a buzzer beater to knock off then #1 ranked Nixa.

“I was lucky it went in. I shot it kind of flat," Unruh said of the shot. "That's one that I didn't think would go in.  I'm glad it did though.“

He is a hard worker, a clutch performer and as far as his range is concerned, he’s in range as soon as he steps off the bus.

“Thatch is definitely one of those types of kids that when everything breaks down, can you make a play?  And he can make a play,” McTague said.

And for Unruh, his confidence is always high.

“I have the mindset that if I can get it off, it’s going in," Unruh said. "So whenever I’m open I’m going to let it go."

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People : Brian McTagueThatch Unruh
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