By Taylor Fortney
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Time and time again, he receives the ball, squares his feet, leaps, and shoots, his right arm extended gracefully towards the basket.
Time and time again, the swish of the net fills the empty gym.
Yet he’s already receiving the next ball, and shooting the next basket.
This is the work ethic that drives Texas Tech guard Dusty Hannahs, helping mold him into one of the Big 12’s top three-point shooter.
“It just makes you tougher,” Hannahs said. “You are in the gym every day, whether you want to or not, and I’ve really just tried to stick with that.”
Results have shown the rewards. While undersized compared to some opponents, Hannahs displays an unwillingness to back down.
“I’m not as big, strong, and fast as the majority of the guys in the league,” Hannahs said. “It takes hard work and repetition, and then still working on your strength and speed. That way I can still feel like I can get in the lane and make plays for teammates, and drive and score against bigger and stronger opponents.”
A scoring machine from beyond the arc, Hannah’s beautiful shot has been put on display recently, scoring in double digits nine times already this season.
His strong play went to a new level Jan. 22 when Hannahs scored a career-high 25 points at West Virginia where he tied the Big 12 record going a perfect 7-for-7 from behind the arc.
Hannahs, however, is quick to point out the advantages of mental strengths, and had a special advantage in that department.
“My whole life, my dad [Gerald Hannahs] really stuck with me,” Hannahs said. “He just tells me all of the little things, but it is more mental when we talk. He lets me take care of the physical aspects of the game, but mentally he is always telling me to keep grinding, keep coming to the gym, and it really does help to have someone in your corner that has been one of the best in the world at what they do.”
The man in his corner is a former professional baseball player, reaching the big leagues with the then Montreal Expos. He used his own experience to help push his son to success.
“Dad was a pro,” Hannahs said. “He made it to the highest level there is in sports, and that is as good as it gets.”
Hannah’s father isn’t the only professional to mentor Hannahs, as Texas Tech hired head coach Tubby Smith following his 2012-13 freshman season.
“Getting Coach Smith was unbelievable,” Hannahs said. “You can’t be any more happy when you have a legend take the reins of the team you’re on. It was a big change from what I’ve been used to, and I’ve never had someone of that caliber coach me. It has been great to learn the game more and more every day from him.”
On top of the coaching and leadership Hannahs received, he also points to experience as the key to development in his game.
Playing in 31 games last year as a freshman, Hannahs used the time to learn how to play in the Big 12.
“As a freshman right out of high school, you have a lot to learn, so you get used to the speed of the game,” Hannah said. “My freshman year really did that for me. I really feel like I’ve gotten to understand [the new offense] and it has been a lot of fun, playing well in the Big 12, but the focus is on getting more victories.“
Hannahs has also shown a knack for focusing in the classroom, with two selections to the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll to his credit.
“In high school, I probably wouldn’t have guessed I would have won academic accolades,” Hannahs said. “It really speaks to how great the Marsha Sharp Center is and all the people involved in the Texas Tech academic department and the importance they place on the academics, including Coach Smith. I really owe it to them and all the tutor sessions that really help and pay off.”
Whether it is in the classroom, in the weight room, or in the gym, one thing is clear.
Dusty Hannahs will be the first one in, last one out, and a relentless work ethic in between.“All of the greats, all of their stories are about being in the gym and working hard,” Hannahs said. “I’m just going to try to follow that plan, and hopefully it leads me to the right place.”