Both Dierks and Kyron Kegler are free throws away from sketching their names in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. But before the Kegler boys can cement their status in the halls of basketball folklore, they have to become national champions.
The brothers are currently en route to Colorado Springs, where they will compete in the Regional Elks Hoop Shoot. The competition will contain competitors from Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Kansas.
If Dierks and Kyron finish first in their respective age divisions, they will advance to the national competition held in Chicago. If either of the brothers finish first at nationals, they will have their name written on a plaque that will sit in the basketball hall of fame.
“It would be an honor because I could say either one of them have gotten in the Hall of Fame before any of their idols,” father Jason Kegler said.
Dierks, whose favorite NBA star is Warriors’ guard Stephen Curry, emulates the back-to-back MVP at the foul line. Dierks takes one dribble, pauses, and shoots. On the other hand, Kyron takes two dribbles, pauses, and shoots.
Although the details may seem minuscule, staying consistent with their routine does create success in their competitions.
“My suggestion for them is to keep it simple. I think the more movement, the more things can go wrong,” Jason said. “The less movement, the more compact the shot is. I think your body is more likely to do the same thing each time.”
Dierks is no stranger to having success in the Elks hoop shoot. The past two years, Dieks has finished as the regional champion, advancing to nationals in two out of two attempts.
In 2018, Dieks finished ninth in Chicago, but finished third in 2019. Dierks converted 24 of 25 attempts in 2019, while the two top competitors failed to miss. Making the 24 free throws was not good enough for third initially, as Dierks was forced into a shoot-off after tying another competitor.
In the shoot-off, Dierks remained steady, sinking all five attempts to earn bronze.
“We joke with him, but it was probably the most confident we had ever seen him,” Jason said. “He stepped up the line and made his five, and the kid behind him missed one. The trophy he has now is probably the size of Kyron for getting third place.”
While Jason and mother, Terra, describe Dierks as one with ‘ice water in his veins,’ brother Kyron takes a different approach. For example, at one shoot, Kyron was seen by his parents singing Post Malone’s hip-hop hit Rockstar while performing the viral “whoa” dance.
Kyron is not as familiar with the hoop-shooting scene as his older brother. Last year was Kyron’s first attempt at the competition, and was able to advance to regionals, where he finished second after converting 20 of 25 from the stripe.
Kyron has been hard at work this season, and is eying a regional trophy of his own. Both brothers have practiced daily, making 100 free throws per session.
“We’ve really only missed a couple days, and even on the weekends too,” Terra said. “Its not forced or anything like that, they really want to be out there.”
The boys will shoot in Colorado Springs today, and if they finish first, will compete in Chicago on April 18.