Video: Top 25 College Basketball Dunks Ever
25. The Doctor Will See You Now (1980)
It’s slightly mind-boggling that dunking was outlawed by the NCAA from 1967 to 1976. We couldn’t be happier that the ban has gone the way of the dodo, as some of our favorite college hoops memories are of the dunking variety. Here are our picks for the Top 25 College Dunks Ever.
As it so happened, the ban on dunking was lifted just in time for Griffith’s freshman year at Louisville. Over the course of his career with his hometown Cardinals, “Dr. Dunkenstein” had a litany of memorable jams. Perhaps his finest came as a senior against St. John’s in 1980, when he adjusted to an underthrown alley-oop pass by floating from one side of the rim to the other, ducking his head under said rim and reverse dunking it home with two hands.
“He was completely disrespectful of the law of gravity,” teammate Greg Deuser recalled a number of years later. “The rest of us had to abide by it. Griffith, for some reason, was immune to that.”
24. EKU's Monster Alley-Oop (2013)
At the start of an EKU inbounds play against Southeast Missouri State last February, Marcus Lewis started out well above SEMSU’s 3-point line. Then, in a flash, he cut hard to the rim in anticipation of the lob pass.
A Redhawks defender tried boxing Lewis out for the pass but it wasn’t nearly enough, as Lewis soared over him from outside the restricted area and flushed it home with one hand. Reads one comment on the muted, YouTube video of the dunk: “The dunk was too powerful, disabled the audio on the video…”
We couldn’t have put it better.
23. Hill's One-Hander (1991)
Everyone’s initial thought concerning Bobby Hurley’s lob pass for Duke in the first half of the 1991 national title game against Kansas was likely, “It’s too high.”
Then again, everyone probably forgot about the athleticism that made sophomore Grant Hill a star-in-the-making. Streaking down the floor toward the rim, Hill controlled Hurley’s pass with just his right hand, kept it from going out of bounds and slammed it home.
Oddly enough, the one person who didn’t appear blown away by the dunk was Hill himself, who simply dropped the ball on the baseline as if he had just scored on a lay-up.
22. Ram Tough (2000)
Shawn Harris had just four points in CSU’s upset of No. 25 Utah in February 2000. Yet he was all anyone on the Rams could talk about after the win after a simultaneous rebound and tomahawk slam. “I was literally stunned,” then Colorado State coach Ritchie McKay told reporters afterward. “I thought, ‘Is this real?’ ”
Said Harris, “I thought it was going to go over my head, but I just grabbed it (in midair) and went for the hoop. That’s kind of my job, to come off the bench and do something exciting to spark us.”
Mission accomplished, Shawn.
21. Made You Look (2012)
Our educated guess is that Darrion Pellum has played his share of streetball. For what he pulled off for Hampton against Maryland Eastern Shore in 2012 was And1 Tour-worthy.
After making a steal near mid-court, Pellum’s means of avoiding the Shore Hawks defender in front of him was to flip a pass off the backboard to himself and slam it home with two hands. Purists often decry such showy plays as unnecessary, but in this instance it worked to perfection.
20. Phi Slama Jammed (1983)
If Houston’s famed Phil Slamma Jamma teams had a Wall of Fame, Clyde Drexler’s dunk over Memphis State’s Andrew Turner in the 1983 Big Dance would surely be on there. And if any dunk demonstrated why Drexler was nicknamed “The Glide,” it’d be this same slam.
There’s a frightening ease with which Drexler soars over and around Turner, rocks the rim and lands on his feet. If Drexler hadn’t grabbed onto the rim, there’s a good chance his momentum would’ve sent him crashing into the first row behind the basket.
19. Leslie's E-Rupp-tion (2010)
Travis Leslie had himself a solid all-around career with the Bulldogs, averaging 12.2 PPG and 6.1 RPG and earning Second Team All-SEC honors as a junior in 2011. Yet most Georgia fans will remember him as perhaps the school’s best dunker ever other than Dominique Wilkins.
Kentucky freshman Demarcus Cousins got a sense of why in 2010. After the Bulldogs broke the Wildcats’ full-court press, Leslie went up-and-over Cousins for the dunk despite being a full half-foot shorter (6-foot-4) than his 6-foot-10 opponent.
You could’ve heard a pin drop in sold-out Rupp Arena after the shocking posterization.
18. Pitt-on-Pitt Crime (1989)
Just one season after Pitt’s Jerome Lane “sent one in” (more on that later), former Panthers teammate Darelle Porter joined him in the lexicon of great dunks in school history.
Against Big East rival Georgetown, Porter was actually boxed out by one of his teammates. No matter; Porter seemed to climb up onto an invisible step ladder and almost casually slammed home a follow-up dunk on a missed shot.
Had it been a Hoya that Porter had gone up and over, there’s a good chance the refs would’ve whistled him for over-the-back. We’re infinitely glad that wasn’t the case.
17. Simply Vinsane (1996)
Before being anointed “Air Canada” for his high-flying exploits with the Toronto Raptors, Vince Carter was a “commercial pilot” in the southern mid-Atlantic region for North Carolina. Clemson was one Carter’s many flyover zones.
The Tigers actually did a decent job of defending a lob inbounds pass that the Tar Heels attempted in their 1996 ACC tournament clash. Alas, no Clemson player who went after it could jump nearly as high or stay in the air nearly as long as Carter, who flushed it home and nearly rocked the basket off its support.
16. Big Skying (2009)
Dunks just feel more powerful if you have the opportunity to cock the ball back before sending it in. Ain’t that right, Montana State’s Will Bynum?
That move helped Bynum finish his dunk against Weber State during the 2009 Big Sky Tournament. WSU’s Davlin Davis actually arrived in time to block Bynum’s breakaway dunk attempt, but the ball was out of reach due to Bynum cocking it back. Davis was already coming back down to earth by the time Bynum finished his violent slam.
15. Stretch Warrick (2005)
One of the things that allowed Hakim Warrick to enjoy a standout career with the Orange was his 7-foot-1 wingspan. Most famously, it allowed him to block a potential game-tying 3-pointer by Kansas’ Michael Lee in the 2003 national title game.
Less famous (though no less impressive) was what he did to Notre Dame two years later. No, it wasn’t a national title-clinching block. Rather, it was a dunk over Irish forward Dennis Lattimore on which Warrick’s right arm seemed to extend Stretch Armstrong-style to flush the ball home.
Does Warrick have any terodactyl blood in him?
14. Big Dunk Hunter (2001)
In his second and final season with the Hoyas before transferring to UNLV, Demetrius Hunter was best known as a long-range marksman, shooting 38.9% from distance. Perhaps that’s what caught Seton Hall off guard when the two teams met.
Hunter drove strong to the hoop after a 3-point shot fake and elevated much faster than the Pirates defender standing in his way, Eddie Griffin. By the time that Griffin jumped to try and block the shot, Hunter was already completing an authoritative flush.
13. Porter's Huge Putback (1999)
In just two years at Auburn, JuCo transfer Chris Porter became a national fan favorite for his big hair and big dunks. When it came to the latter, none was bigger than what he pulled off against LSU in 1999.
Porter leapt for the rebound of a missed shot, but the ball bounced further off to the right than he had initially anticipated. No matter; Porter somehow stayed in the air for an extra second longer, extended his right arm, corralled the ball and slammed it home in one motion.
12. Arch-Rival Annihilation (1996)
Kentucky’s dominant 1995-1996 squad habitually overwhelmed its competition, winning by an average margin of 91-69 en route to the national title. Among those victims was bitter in-state rival Louisville, whose 89-66 humbling at the hands of the Wildcats was best personified by Derek Anderson.
Early in the game, Anderson drove hard to the basket, only to be shoved mid-leap by Louisville’s Nate Johnson. Yet Anderson had enough power and momentum behind him to finish the dunk and posterize Johnson.
11. 'America, Are You Serious?!' (1993)
Jerry Stackhouse arrived in Chapel Hill in 1993 widely considered to be the best prep prospect from North Carolina since Michael Jordan. Against arch-rival Duke in 1995, Stackhouse showed that those comparisons weren’t far-fetched.
Starting on the right wing, Stackhouse drove around Cherokee Parks, under the hoop and finished with a reverse one-handed slam over Erik Meek. Calling the game for ESPN, Dick Vitale and Mike Patrick said what must have been on every viewer’s mind: That move was Jordan-esque.
10. Posterized by Posey (1999)
James Posey was one of the players who put Xavier basketball on the map in the late 1990s. He possessed an athleticism that few Musketeers had before or after him - an athleticism that was on full display against George Washington in Posey’s senior year, in 1999.
On the play, Posey cut hard to the hoop on a crisp bounce pass from teammate Gary Lumpkin. Two Colonials defenders stood in Posey’s way of the hoop - and Posey went through and over both of them.
We’d like to retroactively thank the official from that day for not calling a charge on Posey.
9. Grilled Reuben (2001)
Just ask former Pitt guard Julius Page about how much fun it is to posterize a known shot-blocker with a big size advantage on you.
Such was the case during Page’s freshman season with the Panthers in 2001. Despite giving up nine inches to 7-foot Georgetown center Reuben Boumtje-Boumtje, the 6-foot-3 Page showed no hesitation going up with the ball right into the Cameroonian’s grill.
The fourth-leading shot-blocker in Hoyas history - behind Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo - likely never suffered a posterization as bad before or after that day.
8. Jumpman 30 (1995)
Our best guess is that Kerry Kittles didn’t realize how far away he was from the basket when he went up for an MJ-like, from-the-free-throw-line dunk against Providence in 1995.
Granted, Kittles was a few feet in front of the charity stripe, but he was still a long way away from the basket. No matter; he had more than enough hang time on his jump to reach the rim and slam home the signature points of his illustrious Wildcats career.
7. No Match for Shaq (1991)
You thought Shaquille O’Neal was a beast in the NBA, where he was a 15-time All-Star? He was absolutely terrifying at LSU, back before knee injuries robbed him of much of his ups.
Against McNeese State in 1991, Shaq crashed the boards on a missed shot yet slightly overran the loose ball. He needed every inch of his 7-foot-1 frame to reach back and slam the ball home while simultaneously hurdling a McNeese State defender.
Can you blame Dick Vitale for freaking out over the sight of a 7-footer doing that? We can’t.
6. Levett the Levitator (1997)
When he was starring for the Bearcats in the late 1990s, Melvin Levett was nicknamed “The Helicopter” for his lengthy hangtime. A more telling nickname for what he did to Alcorn State in 1997 might have been “Levett the Levitator,” given the manner in which he hung in the air.
Somehow, as Levett went up for a putback slam, he seemed to change the trajectory of his leap in mid-air. As the announcers described it, it was as if Levett had “come out of the rafters to jam it home.”
5. Superman Alexander (2012)
Prior to February 2012, Division II Cal State San Bernandino was unknown to the college basketball-watching public at large. Kwame “Superman” Alexander changed all that.
Against Cal State Stanislaus, Alexander was fed on a fast break and opted to go up with a dunk attempt from high up the lane. At one point in his leap, he was nearly parallel to the ground (a la a flying Superman) before finishing over the helpless CSS defender below him.
4. 'Ham Slamwich' (1996)
During his playing days at Texas Tech and the NBA, Darvin Ham stood 6-foot-7 and 240 pounds, most of which was pure muscle. How else to explain why he was able to destroy a backboard in a manner normally reserved for centers?
It was on a big stage that “Dunkin’ Darvin” became a household name: The second round of the 1996 NCAA Tournament against perennial powerhouse North Carolina. The dunk was a galvanizing moment in the Red Raiders’ upset of the Tar Heels, one that sent them to the Sweet Sixteen and landed Ham on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
3. Minnfield Climbs the Ladder (1983)
There was nothing “mini” whatsoever about the dunk that Dirk Minniefield - a Lexington, KY, native who was born to play for the Wildcats - threw down against the Bulldogs in 1983.
Rare is the dunk where it appears the player is still elevating when he slams it home. Yet that’s exactly what happened in the 6-foot-3 Minniefield’s case; he was still going up as he brought the ball down through the hoop with authority.
“Dirk Minniefield was looking down at the hoop!” the play-by-play announcer exclaimed after the dunk. Instant replay confirms that it wasn’t hyperbole, either.
2. Up & Over (1988)
During the Jerry Tarkanian Era, the Rebels ran roughshod over their Big West foes, who couldn’t match UNLV’s ability to run and jump. Among those hapless foes was Pacific.
Against the Tigers in 1988, Jarvis Basnight picked the pocket of one Tiger and avoided another with a slick behind-the-back dribble. That was just a prelude to how he would finish the play: By dunking on a Pacific defender who tried to draw the charge, not thinking that Basnight had the hops to clear his head.
1. 'Send It In, Jerome!' (1988)
We’re surely not the only people to rank this as the top dunk in college basketball history. After all, it’s hard to turn down a dunk for such an honor when it has its own catch phrase: “Send it in, Jerome!”
That’s what color commentator Bill Raftery memorably exclaimed when Pitt’s Jerome Lane - off a pass from current Arizona head coach Sean Miller - shattered the backboard against Providence in 1988. When later asked by play-by-play partner Mike Gorman how he came up with “Send it in Jerome!”, Raftery admitted that he had no idea; it just came to him.
“No need for a technical foul,” Raftery told the TV audience shortly after the play. “Just inferior equipment and superior body strength!” We couldn’t have described the best dunk in college hoops history better ourselves.