The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 16, 2014

Enid 10-year-old is national FT champ

Staff reports
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Enid now has a representative in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., and he hasn’t even suited up to play high school hoops yet. Of course, at 10 years old, he still has a few years to get there, but he already has earned national recognition.

Taye Sullivan, a student at Taft Elementary School in Enid, won the Elks National Hoop Shoot competition Saturday in the 10-11-year-old category by sinking 22 out of 25 free throws and then was a perfect 5-for-5 in a four-way playoff to earn the crown. 

Sullivan advanced to the national competition by first winning at the local level, shooting a perfect 25-for-25 according to his mother, Melissa Painter.

He then continued his mastery by winning the district competition in Kingfisher, missing only one out of 25 attempts, where he was named “Best of the Best” out of all contestants ages 8-13 for obtaining the highest score. His march to the nationals included winning the state competition in Sapulpa, where he converted 23 out of 25 attempts, earning “Best in the State” honors. He then parlayed his state title into a district crown in Dallas, again making 23 out of 25 free throws.

After winning the district title, he was flown to the nationals in Springfield, Mass., by the Elks, which sponsors the event, where he tied three other contestants by missing only three tries in 25 attempts. Sullivan then clinched the 10-11-year-old crown with his 5-for-5 performance in the playoff round, while the other three converted on four out of five attempts. The win means his name will be enshrined at the Hall of Fame.

Sullivan was recognized Monday at Taft for his accomplishments, where he showed off his national championship trophy.