Ranking College Basketball’s Best Dunkers
With the college football season completed and college hoops in full swing, now is the prime time for sports highlights shows to be chock full of high-flying dunkers. Which players are most likely to provide us with a “Did you see that?” slam? We searched high and low through the college ranks for College Basketball’s Best Dunkers.
5. Chris Evans (Kent State)
Kent State’s leading scorer (16.5 PPG) shares the same name as the actor who recently portrayed Captain America on the big screen, and there is indeed something superhuman about the former’s high-flying act. Whether it’s on alley-oops, breakaways or put-backs, the Chesapeake, VA, native is absolutely fearless attacking the rim, whether he has to go through or over defenders.
Sometimes, opponents are victimized by the full variety of Evans’ dunks in a single game, as Western Michigan found out the hard way last February 4 (above). If Kent State (9–5) makes a run to the MAC title, more viewers could witness Evans’ “Golden Flashes of Brilliance” above the rim.
4. Kwame Alexander (Cal State San Bernardino)
When you ply your trade at the Division II level as Alexander does, you have to do something pretty special to get a national audience to sit up and take notice. “Special” doesn’t do justice to Alexander’s “Superman” dunk against Cal State Stanislaus last February (above).
Alexander flew straight over a defender in prime position to take a charge — in fact, he seems to get an extra “air bump” to avoid contact — and finished with authority with his left hand. That the play was No. 2 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays came as no surprise to CSUSB coach Jeff Oliver, who had previously said, “About seventy percent of his dunks could be ESPN Top 10 plays.”
Oliver wasn’t even referring to Alexander’s Superman dunk when he said that. In fact, he was referring to a slam from a game less than two weeks before in which Alexander brought down the entire basket on an alley-oop.
3. Rodney Williams (Minnesota)
Williams has rounded into a solid all-around player and NBA prospect who’s second on the Gophers in scoring (12.9 PPG) and rebounding (6.0 RPG). But the senior will always be best known as the Big Ten’s highest flier.
Williams is comfortable enough with his hops to effortlessly throw down 360-degree dunks on breakaways during games - so much so that if he doesn’t stick the landings, people start wondering if there’s something wrong with him.
One team that surely knows that Williams is at 100% is Florida State (above). When the Seminoles hosted Minnesota earlier this season in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, Williams turned FSU’s Tucker Center into his own personal launching pad. Seminoles players might still be having nightmares of a No. 33 in maroon and gold soaring over them.
2. Doug Anderson (Detroit)
A cynic might criticize Anderson for the lack of variety he exhibits in putting the ball in the basket (58 of his 119 field goals in 2011–2012 were dunks). But if you were blessed with a 48-inch vertical leap like the Kalamazoo, MI, native is, you’d want to show off your natural gift as much as possible, too.
Earlier this season, on a December night that was supposed to be entirely focused on Jim Boeheim’s 900th win at Syracuse, Anderson almost stole the show (above). By the end of the Titans’ 72–68 near-upset of the Orange, the ESPN crew was struggling to decide which of his half dozen jams their favorite was.
Anderson must have a thing for road games against New York schools. His monster put-back against St. John’s in November was arguably better than any of his dunks against the Orange.
1. Markel Brown (Oklahoma State)
Endless plaudits about a player’s dunking ability are usually left for fan sites and blogs. Yet on Markel Brown’s official Oklahoma State bio, six of the 12 highlights from his sophomore season — one in which he led the team in assists (80) and was second in rebounds (169) and steals (41) — are dunk-related, including the first three listed.
Translation: He is a special dunker. Considering he stands just 6-foot-3, Brown’s hops are eye-popping and remind us of a young Steve Francis.
One of the major reasons that Brown was at the top of so many “Dunker of the Year” lists following last season (including CollegeBasketballTalk’s) is that so many of his dunks were posterizations. Nothing gets a crowd going or boosts YouTube viewership quite like throwing one down right in someone’s grill.
Here’s a little something to add to Brown’s burgeoning legend. He was so amped up after two roof-raising jams against Mizzou last season that the referee assessed him a technical foul after each one, leading to his ejection (above). Clearly that referee was averse to fun.
College basketball fans everywhere should root hard for the Pokes to reach the Big Dance so that the nation’s most electric dunker can show off on the sport’s biggest stage.