My 15 Favorite Basketball Photos of 2015

This has been a great year for me as far as shooting basketball goes. I have been really lucky to shoot for some great teams. Shooting in a loud, packed Mackey Arena is always fun. I was able to shoot a couple of games in historic Hinkle Fieldhouse as well. The highlight of the year though was shooting the first round NCAA Tournament games in Louisville, Kentucky. I was able to watch a lot of good basketball through my lens that weekend. I was hired to shoot games for Iowa State and Hampton, but it was great to see Purdue in their return to the tournament as well. 2015 was a great year to shoot basketball, and I hope that 2016 can match it. I will be shooting in Mackey tonight so I hope that it can start off as good as I think the season can. While we wait for that game though let’s look back at my fifteen favorite basketball images from last year.

15. One bittersweet moment this year was watching the five great seniors leave the West Lafayette basketball court for the last time. I covered many of these guys in other sports as well as basketball over the years. They were a great group that will be hard to replace this season. Here they gathered one last time on the court for a photo after a win.


14. Media day at the NCAA Tournament can be a slow day if you let it. For some reason instead of complaining I decided to make some fun photos. The top photo was made in the Iowa State locker room before the media was allowed in. I loved the chilled nature of the photo as the player just listened to his music. I also liked this photo of one of Fred Holberg’s kids in the locker room. Who knows how good he will be in the future, and this first NCAA moment will be one that he will remember.

13. Early this season Ray Davis sat out part of an early game with what appeared to be a leg injury. When he came back into the game, and laid down this sick dunk. I guess his leg was okay after all. Ray will appear on this countdown again.

12. Just when I thought that my season was over last spring I was hired to shoot for two teams at the three point shootout and slam dunk contest. Here Kiefer Sykes attempts an amazing dunk. Kiefer was my only player in the slam dunk competition, and he made it to the finals. He did finish second with a couple of great dunks.

11. When I was hired by Hampton to cover them in the NCAA Tournament I knew that I was in for a big challenge. Kentucky was undefeated on the season, and was the odds on favorite to win the title. Hampton was looking at a huge challenge. I wanted to show this David and Goliath type matchup in one photo. Here I think that I accomplished that.

10. Ray Davis was named the Big Ten defensive player of the year last season. You can see one reason why in the photo above. Ray is a fun player to watch for many reasons. One of those is his defense. Of course the sign saying defense above Ray is a bonus here.

9. This is one of my favorite photos of Purdue from their NCAA Tournament game. A.J. Hammons had just left the game, and was replaced by Isaac Haas. Of course Isaac throws down a dunk right away showing that you can never let up against Purdue.

8. This was one photo that I made from three different angles. I like the look of Ashley Morrisette here as she lets a floater go. This was from my floor remote that gives me a second chance at a shot if my main camera is blocked. I was also running a post cam for the game which I think is the best camera to cover women’s basketball.

7. Sometimes I put the wide angle on my main camera to try to get a similar shot. Here at Notre Dame I had a TV camera creeping in on my left and the ref on my right. Using my handheld camera I was able to lean forward enough to get both of them out of the shot.

6. I made this photo of Caleb “Biggie” Swanigan during the first game that I saw him this season. He was very hyped coming into the season, and I was happy to make this dunk shot of him.

5. I like a good huddle picture more than most photographers. Here was my favorite of the year. I stuck my camera into the huddle, and the team did the rest. This was an idea that I had on the spot that worked out pretty good. I wanted something different than the over the top shot I normally make. When they are swaying though you have to be quick to get the picture.

4. As I said before Ray Davis was the Big Ten defensive player of the year last season. A.J. Hammons was the runner up. It is great to see two of the best defenders in the league on a regular basis. Here A.J. sends a shot into the bleachers against Youngstown State.

3. Here is A.J. yet again. Purdue came to their press conference at the NCAA Tournament just as Kentucky had left to take the floor. This was in Kentucky so most of the media was out on the floor to cover the crowds reaction to the Kentucky entrance. When Purdue sat down there was only a couple members of the media in the room. None of them had a question so their was an awkward silence. A.J. started a slow burn towards a laugh. He was trying to hold it in, but when he finally lost it I made this photo. It was a great moment during what is normally a dry press conference.

2. I love the lighting in Hinkle Fieldhouse. The crowd is dark while the players are lit well. It allows you to make a dramatic photo like the one above. It was one of my favorite submissions to St. John’s from that night.

  1. My favorite basketball of the year is this one of Ray Davis after the Indiana game last year. He was enjoying the win over a rival with the fans. It is this intensity that makes Ray one of the guys you try and find on the court. This kind of emotion is why you make photos to begin with. The way that things are looking right now I think that I will have a few more chances to photograph some big games in 2016.
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About Pinola Photo

I am a sports and lifestyle photographer based in West Lafayette, IN home of Purdue University. I cover sports for Big Ten teams as well as other colleges. You can follow me on twitter @pinolaphoto. You can also view my website at www.davewegielphoto.net

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