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Tarence Kinsey with the Gamecocks and Cavaliers
Tarence Kinsey with the Gamecocks and Cavaliers
Photos courtesy of the NBA and Getty Images.

NBA Finals would be dream backdrop for Kinsey to repeat title-winning shot

By Larry Di Giovanni

With barely a second left, Gamecock Tarence Kinsey arched a three-pointer in Madison Square Garden, a shot that made the University of South Carolina the National Invitation Tournament champion in March 2005.

"I am going to start dreaming on that right now."

Now a reserve guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers--a team with the NBA’s best regular season-record for 2008-09 at 66-16, and one of the favorites to win the championship--Kinsey hopes for a repeat performance. He relishes the thought of sinking a game winner if the Cavaliers advance to the NBA Finals in June. The team is led by league MVP LeBron James, a phenomenal talent.
 
“I am going to start dreaming on that right now,” Kinsey said during an interview as the Cavaliers prepared for their second-round playoff opponent, the Atlanta Hawks. He could become only the third former Gamecock to win an NBA championship.

'Big-time game and stage'

Toward the end of the 2005 NIT final, Kinsey was getting tired, having played tight defense all game against St. Joseph’s standout Pat Carroll. At 6 feet, 6 inches, lean, and long-limbed, Kinsey was dubbed a defensive “stopper,” not a shooter.

He proved the description wrong. Coach Dave Odom briefly considered a timeout but let Kinsey dribble all the way up the court before hitting the clutch shot.

“That was probably number one, my most memorable moment as a South Carolina Gamecock. I was thinking that I didn’t want it to go into overtime. It was a big-time game and stage. We won the game as a very focused team,” Kinsey says.

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