Meet the Hoop Wild ballers in their natural habitat at #Hoopfest2016

One thing about the “Hoop Wild” Hoopfest team is that they aren’t sheep-ish.

The Hoop Wild ballers, in their natural habitat
The Hoop Wild ballers, in their natural habitat

Hoop Wild is a themed team that consists of four players dressed as: a turtle, a cheetah, a flamingo, and a giraffe. As you might guess, the giraffe was the rookie. It was the toughest role on the team to fill, but at times he was head and shoulders above the rest.

The foursome entertained curious crowds on Saturday and celebrated with wild abandon after Jared Greiner (the giraffe) drained a long two-pointer near the end of the second game. Greener scored despite playing the game in a costume that didn’t allow him to turn his head and took away his peripheral vision.

“The shooting was pretty hard, too, because I pretty much had to turn to the side to shoot,” said Greiner. That’s why his one made basket in the game was a stationary set shot, but it still counted. “That felt great,” he said. “That’s what I’ve been practicing for–the last day.”

Greiner’s teammates weren’t surprised that he stuck his neck out and took his share of long-distance shots.

“I think the giraffe is made for the long ball. He never wants to go down low; he’s a little scared of the hoop. So, if he just shoots from deep, he’s good,” said team founder Alex Bray (the cheetah), who had the idea seven years ago to focus on fun instead of winning at Hoopfest.

Another teammate pointed out the giraffe has a good angle on the rim from his higher vantage point. Greiner noted his height was an advantage on defense, “No one could pass over me.”

The giraffe sticks his neck out for his teammates
The giraffe sticks his neck out for his teammates

Teammate Jake McLean had the team’s “turtle power,” but also was more plodding. He reminded that the race doesn’t always go to the swiftest. “Yeah, the cheetah’s the fastest, but I think I have to carry a lot more weight on my back that the team doesn’t understand.” He said he was just glad he didn’t end up on his back, admittedly his “biggest fear in life.”

Who had the most elegant moves? It was the flamingo, of course. Scott Parmely, a longtime Hoopfester who’s only been a part of the Hoop Wild team for two years.

“The giraffe, he was clutch,” said Parmely. “He came through when we needed him.”

Even animals take time to celebrate
Even animals take time to celebrate

Yet despite Greiner’s heroics, Hoop Wild dropped both games on Saturday and will battle through the consolation bracket. Even at Hoopfest, the laws of natural selection apply and only the fittest survive.

-Authored by Jeff Bunch

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