Will Hartzell loves basketball. So when officials started closing courts because of COVID-19, he wasn’t just going to give up the game.
This Mississippi native decided to use some farming finagling to find ways to keep up his jump shot. He uploaded the videos to TikTok and Instagram and most have gone viral. The internet has nicknamed him LeBarn James, Kevin DuRanch, Farmelo Anthony, and Steph Country, among others.
His videos include a basketball goal attached to a tractor and hoop hung from the back of his truck. But the one that has gotten the most attention is his rebound machine. SportsCenter shared the video of the contraption recently.
Like all ingenious creations, it’s a simple but elegant machine. After he shoots the ball, he pulls a lever that “passes” a second ball to him. The first ball, the one he shot, drops via chain into a bucket, reloading the machine.
Hartzell said he’s always had to innovate to keep up his game. He doesn’t have the amenities a normal gym would have or even just a concrete court. Making matters even more difficult is he almost always plays in jean shorts and cowboy boots. It’s a hoe-down, throw-down from downtown.
“It’s been really interesting playing basketball here trying to train to get better,” he told Overtime. “And honestly it’s a lot of motivation when you see other people having access to courts where some of the best hoopers in the world are hooping at, but here innovation is always key in making new ways to train, new ways to make workout equipment, whatever it make be.
LeBarn James Plays More than Just Basketball
Will Hartzell said he wants to make a career out of playing basketball online. And he’s done fairly well so far. A travel league visited his Mississippi farm last year to play a game. They used hoops attached to tractors on either end of a flat field. Hartzell even traveled with them for a few stops playing exhibition games.
But LeBarn James loves all sports. He built his own soccer goal (that he shoots on only in cowboy boots, naturally) and a pool table that converts to a ping pong table.
Hartzell told Overtime the point he’s trying to make is that you can find ways to get better at something no matter where you are. Creativity is defined by limitation. So, if you don’t have anyone to shag rebounds, build a rebound machine.