College Basketball: The Top 15 Dunkers in the Country Heading into Next Season
There is not a more exciting play in all of sports than a rim-rattling slam that brings a crowd to their feet and causes viewers from home to nearly fall off their couch.
This season, fans have a great deal to look forward to, as college basketball sports an abundance of high-flyers.
From guards with trampoline-caliber hops to big guys with the strength to shatter backboards, here are the top 15 dunkers in the upcoming season.
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Honorable Mention: Vander Blue, Marquette
Marquette guard Vander Blue knows how to rise up and finish with authority.
The 6'4" guard electrified Golden Eagles fans last season, rising above overmatched defenders.
Blue gave UW-Green Bay something to remember, including an in-your-face slam that brought down the house.
Honorable Mention: LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State fans were elated when 6'7" high-flyer LeBryan Nash decided to return for his sophomore season.
Nash averaged more than 13 points and five rebounds last season. Expect Nash to improve on those numbers in 2012-13, while putting challenging opponents on a poster—just as he did in high school.
Honorable Mention: Sam Thompson
Ohio State forward Sam Thompson did not play much during the team's Final Four run last season.
The 6'7" dunk specialist averaged less than 11 minutes per game, registering just more than two points per contest. However, Thompson made his presence felt with a highlight dunk against the Indiana Hoosiers.
With the absence of William Buford, expect Thompson to make a big contribution this season.
Honorable Mention: Elijah Johnson, Kansas
Senior guard Elijah Johnson will be a must-see player for Bill Self's Jayhawks squad this season.
Johnson had a big season in 2011-12, as he lit up scoreboards with his sharpshooting and highlight dunks.
The 6'4" guard was a major contributor during the NCAA Tournament, averaging more than 13 points per game.
Without question, Johnson will be one of the most exiting players to watch in the Big 12 this season.
Reggie Smith, Eastern Illinois
Eastern Illinois transfer Reggie Smith saw limited action at UNLV last season, playing just more than six minutes per game.
However, that does not take away from the fact that Smith is one of the most electrifying dunkers in all of college basketball.
Listed at 6'0", which is probably a little generous, Smith appears as though he is jumping off a trampoline, sporting a 43-inch vertical (according to eiupanthers.com).
Take a look at Smith's AAU dunks from 2009 and you will quickly see why he belongs on this list.
Deuce Bello, Baylor
Baylor guard Deuce Bello did not receive much on-court action as a freshman last season.
However, look for the highly-touted recruit to make a big impact this season.
At 6'4", Bello has the ability to rise above the rim and finish with a variety of spectacular moves. Quincy Miller, Quincy Acy and Perry Jones III will be playing in the NBA this season, but Bello with keep Bears fans excited in 2012-13.
Ryan Boatright, UCONN
Ryan Boatright got UCONN fans out of their seats during the team's dunk contest last season.
The 6'0" guard had an impressive freshman season, totaling more than 10 points and four assists per game.
Boatright was involved in a scandal last season that included impermissible benefits, but was cleared to play in January. Look for Boatright to excite Huskies fans with his play this season.
D.J. Stephens, Memphis
Memphis wingman D.J. Stephens did not see the floor much last season, but when he did, he was a highlight reel waiting to happen.
Stephens threw down a variety of thunderous slams, including a dunk against Georgetown that was one of the best of the year.
Stephens played less than nine minutes per game last season, and may not play much more during his senior year—one thing is certain, however. Stephens will make SportsCenter's Top 10 at least once this season.
Gabe York, Arizona
Who said you need to be tall to put someone on a poster?
At 6'2", Gabe York is one of the best dunkers in the 2012 freshman class. York was rated as a four-star by scout.com and will be playing for the Arizona Wildcats this fall.
Despite his size, York has an amazing knack for attacking the basket, as taller players watch him dunk over them. He is also a knock-down shooter from long range.
Expect York to make an immediate impact for Sean Miller's squad.
Markel Brown, Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown had an explosive sophomore season in 2011-12.
Brown averaged more than 10 points and five rebounds per game for the Cowboys. Even more notable, however, were some of the ferocious slams that Brown had, including two against Missouri.
Brown was ejected after his second one for taunting a Tigers player. Nevertheless, his dunks are still a thing of beauty.
Nick Johnson, Arizona
Arizona guard Nick Johnson had an effective freshman season for the Wildcats in 2011-12, averaging more than nine points.
The 6'2" guard has some of the best hops in all of college basketball, floating above the rim with ease.
With Johnson and York, Coach Miller may have the best 6'2" dunkers in the country.
Expect Johnson to have a solid season in 2012-13, as he will strike fear into the hearts of his Pac-12 opponents.
C.J. Leslie, North Carolina State
North Carolina State forward C.J. Leslie is one of the most athletic players in college basketball.
At 6'8", Leslie has a unique ability to rise above the rim and finish with a thunderous slam.
Leslie had an impact season for the Wolfpack last season, averaging more than 14 points and seven rebounds per game.
Warning: watching his highlight dunks will be mind-blowing. Side effects may include drooling.
J.P. Tokoto, North Carolina
With legendary high-flyers Michael Jordan and Vince Carter, Tar Heels fans have witnessed some of best dunkers college basketball has ever seen.
Now, Chapel Hill with have their eyes glued to freshman sensation J.P. Tokoto. The 6'6" guard was rated a four-star by scout.com, but his abilities above the rim deserve 10 stars.
Harrison Barnes will be playing for the Golden State Warriors this season, but Tokoto will fill in nicely for Roy Williams' squad.
There should not be an empty seat at the Dean Dome for UNC's Midnight Madness with Tokoto participating in the dunk contest.
Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota
Minnesota forward Trevor Mbakwe had his senior season cut short due to a knee injury, however, he will return this fall after gaining a medical redshirt.
Mbakwe has left Gophers fans in awe with his rim-rattling slams—and will do so again this season.
The 6'8" big man put on a show during the team's dunk contest in 2010, throwing it down over Tubby Smith's motorcycle. The injury-prone forward should probably avoid such dunks this year, but Big Ten opponents won't be as lucky.
Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
Last year, Kentucky's Anthony Davis was the most exciting freshman to watch in college basketball.
This season, it will be Shabazz Muhammad's turn. Rated the second best player in the 2012 class by scout.com, Muhammad has a rare skill set that will wow the nation from the time he steps on the floor.
The 6'5" guard can attack the basket as well as anyone in the country, finishing with a left-handed hammer.
Muhammad will be the reason you should watch every UCLA game you can this season.
Rodney Williams, Minnesota
Mbakwe is joined by another high-flyer in Rodney Williams.
The 6'7" forward averaged more than 12 points and five rebounds for the Gophers last season, while exciting fans with highlight jams.
With the lethal combination of Mbakwe and Williams, the maintenance team at Williams Arena may have to replace a few rims this season.
Expect Williams to have a senior year filled with sensational slams.
Doug Anderson, Detroit
If you haven't had the pleasure of watching Detroit's Doug Anderson throw it down, you're really missing out.
"Dunkin' Doug" is a human highlight reel, with his ability to jump out of the gym and finish with a monster slam. The 6'6" forward averaged more than nine points per game in his first season for the Titans.
Have nothing to do at night? Search "Doug Anderson" on YouTube and you will be provided with instant entertainment.
Shaquille Johnson, Auburn
Auburn freshman Shaquille Johnson will be the most exciting athlete to hit the Tigers' campus since quarterback Cam Newton.
Johnson, rated a four-star by scout.com, is the best dunker in the freshman class. Heck, David Stern should see if he can get Johnson to participate in the 2013 NBA Slam Dunk contest.
Auburn isn't known for their basketball, but the 6'5" guard will surely electrify SEC crowds this season, no matter which team they are cheering for.
Victor Oladipo, Indiana
Last season's battle between Kentucky and Indiana on December 10th was one of the most exciting games to watch in recent memory.
While Christian Watford's game-winning shot stole the show, Indiana guard Victor Oladipo may have made the game's most spectacular play, throwing down a monster slam over a Kentucky defender.
Oladipo averaged more than 10 points and five rebounds during his sophomore season for Tom Crean's squad.
The 6'5" guard does not look like someone who is the nation's best dunker, but Oladipo may be just that. Kentucky was not the only team he posterized last season, and there will be many more to come in 2012-13.