Carson, Shuler, Hoyer? Dems bet on best free-throw shooter in Congress

So who has the best foul-line shot in Congress?

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Caucus Co-Chairman Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) immediately thought of Reps. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.). Shuler is a former professional football player, and Langevin speculated that he “might be able to throw a basketball as well as he throws a football.”

But there’s another guy Langevin thinks might have a wicked shot: Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

“I think Hoyer can probably shoot a great free-throw,” Langevin said Wednesday, “and he’s a big basketball fan, too.”

Hoyer, a huge Maryland Terrapin fan, smiled when he learned of Langevin’s props. 

“I haven’t thrown a free-throw in years,” he said, “but I used to play basketball, and I can shoot a free-throw.”

Asked whether he’d consider stepping up to the line on Wednesday, Hoyer responded, “I wouldn’t be averse to trying.”

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), another caucus co-chairman, also made a few predictions, naming Reps. Andre Carson (D-Ind.), Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) and Joe Courtney (D-Conn.). 

“Those are the guys you see shooting around in the House gym, so I bet they’ve got good shots.”

Don’t expect to see Perlmutter himself near the top of the ranks, however.

“I’d be a lousy shot,” he said, estimating that his free-throw percentage is around 20. 

“When I was in school I played baseball, wrestling and tennis, and I can ski and run and a few other things, but basketball just isn’t really my game.”

Despite his lack of experience, Perlmutter assured ITK that he’ll take his turn at the line on Wednesday.

“I’m not at all embarrassed to try things I’m not good at. That’s never stopped me before.”

But the competition could make other potential shooters think twice.

The U.S. Olympic Committee and Paralympic Committee are planning to bring more than a dozen athletes to Capitol Hill to take part in the event, including gold-medal winners Teresa Edwards and Christian Laettner (basketball), Evan Lysacek (figure skating) and Shawn Johnson (gymnastics).