When you talk about last year's Utah-BYU game in Salt Lake City, the first name that comes to mind is Keith Chapman.
It was Chapman, remember, who sank those two three-pointers from the top of the key in the final 90 seconds to give the Utes a 62-60 upset victory."It's the most memorable game of my career," says Chapman. "Going into the game I had no idea I'd be part of something like that."
A year later, as the Utes and Cougars prepare to meet tonight in the Huntsman Center, things have changed dramatically for Chapman. He's no longer a starter for the Utes and his outside shooting touch that was a big part of Utah's success a year ago, has mysteriously abandoned him.
Last year Chapman shot 47 percent from the field and an even better 49 percent from three-point range, making 20 of 41 shots. This year Chapman is hitting a meager 31.8 percent from the field and an embarrassing 14.8 percent from three-point range on 4-of-27 shooting.
"If anything, I'm just struggling with my own confidence," said Chapman, trying to find an answer. "I'm not looking to shoot like I did last year and I need to be more aggressive. When I do shoot, I feel like they're going to go down. But when you miss so many shots in a row, it gets very frustrating."
Some have tried to blame Chapman's problems on the fact he got married since last season. But Chapman is having none of that talk.
"A lot of people put the blame on that, but I don't agree," he said.
Then perhaps it's because of the addition of freshman Josh Grant, who took Chapman's starting spot in the fifth game of the season.
"No I don't think so," he said. "Josh has been playing well and it might have affected me a bit. But I feel comfortable coming off the bench."
Chapman says the problem probably comes from within.
"I put a lot of pressure on myself. I think too much. Probably in the back of my mind I'm thinking I'm going to miss," he says.
Ute Coach Lynn Archibald agrees with the pressure theory.
"A lot of times you want things so much you put pressure on yourself - you create your own pressure," he said.
Although Chapman may be lacking in confidence, his coach isn't.
"He'll finish strong this year, I know he will," said Archibald. "He's a tough kid and a great competitor. You can't keep great competitors down for long. They'll always rise to the top."
Archibald says Chapman has been shooting well in practice this week and Chapman agrees.
"I'm not panicking," says Chapman. "I've been shooting better than I have all year."
Despite his field goal shooting problems, Chapman remains one of the team's better foul shooters at 71 percent. And he ranks third on the team in rebounding with 3.3 per game.
The Utah-BYU game is always a special game for Chapman. Not only did he grow up in the middle of the rivalry, attending Murray High School, his wife Leslie was an athlete at BYU, competing for the swim team. That doesn't present any problems for Chapman, however. He says he cheers for the Cougar women's swim team and his wife is "an avid Utah fan" especially in basketball.
Chapman says he expects the Utes to start coming around as the season reaches the home stretch.
"We're sick and tired of losing," he said. "But we've got good character on this team. We're going to come out and play hard and put the Air Force loss behind us."