Feb. 1, 2017
CHICAGO – In typical Billy Garrett Jr. fashion, knocking on the door of individual history Tuesday night against Georgetown, Garrett was more preoccupied with helping his team to a victory then he was breaking a record.
“I actually lost track of where I was at [with regard to the record breaking free throw].” Garrett said after the Blue Demons fell to Georgetown. “But yeah, it feels good to have the record.”
From being named BIG EAST Freshman of the Year in 2014, to becoming the program’s all-time leader in makes from the free throw line on Tuesday night at Allstate Arena, Garrett has played a starring role for the Blue Demons each of his four years in Chicago’s north side. In addition to becoming the program’s all-time leader in free throws made with 532, DePaul’s senior point guard also moved into 11th on the all-time scoring list with 1,496 points.
Coach Dave Leitao, who has spent the better part of two years coaching Garrett, reflected on all that “Little Billy” has meant to DePaul basketball, and the legacy he will leave behind.
“You have to know him and his family to understand what he’s put into this program. And he hasn’t gotten back what a lot of guys want to get back which is the NCAA Championships, BIG EAST Tournament wins, and 20-win seasons that are a dream for everybody and why you go to college.
“From the day he stepped on campus before I got here, and the year plus that I have been with him he has been remarkable. Remarkable as an athlete, remarkable as a human being. Which is what college is supposed to do for you.” Coach Leitao continued. “He’s a competitor and he puts it out there every night on the floor. We talk about his free throw shooting, which is a remarkable feat, not only because he is really good at it as a career 90 percent foul shooter but because he gets there a lot. That speaks to his mindset and his basketball ability. Plus, shooting free throws is not easy. Everybody might think it is easy, you just step up and knock it down, but if it were easy everybody would shoot 90 percent. So, his discipline is the biggest thing that he has as an individual. There may be guys that jump higher, do all that, but there’s never going to be another Billy Garrett in terms of what his legacy will mean to DePaul basketball.”
For Garrett’s part, when asked about what breaking the record means to him, he acknowledged the personal significance of the record.
“It is just an honor to have a record at DePaul University, a place with such a storied basketball history so to have my name atop a record is humbling and a result of all the hard work and people who’ve helped me along the way.”
From the kid who played two years above his age class until middle school, to Morgan Park High School’s star point guard, to division one recruit to DePaul star point guard, Garrett has always worked to topple hurdles. After Tuesday night however, some other young aspiring point guard will have to put Garrett in their sights. Little Billy stands alone, atop, the record book, etched in history as the program’s leader in free throws.