Ranking the Top 10 Dunkers in the NCAA Tournament
Even non-college basketball fans can appreciate the beauty and excitement of the dunk. It is the closest man has ever come to flying without the use of a machine, and there is just something about watching athletes skywalk over defenders that gets crowd members out of their seats.
With March Madness upon us, diehard college hoops fans and novice bracket pickers alike will be able to enjoy plenty of slam dunks in the coming weeks. Some will alter the momentum of a game, while others will serve as the exclamation points on tournament victories.
Since everyone has his or her favorite dunker and there are so many great ones across the country, feel free to point out who was left off the list in the comments section. Ranking the best dunkers is an inherently subjective practice, even if the excitement of a dunk is not up for debate.
Read on to see the best 10 dunkers in this year’s NCAA tournament.
No. 10: C.J. Leslie (North Carolina State)
The art of the dunk is sometimes taken for granted when it comes to big men. After all, it’s easy to marvel at the short guys who have to cover so much ground with their leap alone to reach the rim.
However, C.J. Leslie of North Carolina State makes sure the spectators appreciate his finishes at the rim, despite his lengthy frame. In this case, he ensures that rival North Carolina appreciates his dunking abilities as well.
No. 9: Vander Blue (Marquette)
Vander Blue flies a bit under the radar when it comes to establishing a consensus for the best dunkers in college basketball, but he flies over defenders when it comes to on-court performance.
The Marquette guard isn’t exactly a case study for height in terms of basketball players, but that doesn’t stop him from putting on a show every time he jumps.
In this case against Washington, it looked as if he paused mid-air and then decided to jump again to elevate enough to find the basket. No big deal or anything.
No. 8: Andre Roberson (Colorado)
Not many people can claim to have posterized a 7’2” center before their 22nd birthday, but Colorado’s Andre Roberson isn’t many people.
The swingman has had health issues in the past, but he is ready to go this season in the NCAA tournament. Fans who don’t stay up late enough to see the Pac-12 games will be in for a treat, because Roberson can dunk with the best from the East Coast.
No. 7: C.J. Fair (Syracuse)
Dissect Syracuse’s late regular-season shooting woes all you want, but C.J. Fair isn’t going to miss many opportunities around the rim with the jumping and finishing abilities he possesses.
His style around the rim may bring back images of former Orange player Hakim Warrick, but Fair is plenty talented on his own.
Just ask Pittsburgh.
No. 6: Rodney Williams (Minnesota)
The Big Ten is loaded with dunkers (as we will see later in the slideshow), and Rodney Williams is certainly one of the best the Midwest has to offer.
The Minnesota swingman specializes in the 360 slam, but it is not the only trick in his above-the-rim bag. This alley-oop finish shows just how athletic Williams is.
In fact, Mr. Fantastic would be jealous of how far Williams had to reach back to get that ball. To have the wherewithal to still finish is truly special.
No. 5: Mason Plumlee (Duke)
Mason Plumlee combines excellent athleticism with the powerful thunder one would expect from a center.
The Duke Blue Devil nearly brought the roof off Cameron Indoor Stadium with this reverse slam off an offensive rebound. It happened so fast, Maryland probably still doesn’t realize what occurred.
Fortunately, that is what YouTube is for.
No. 4: Ramon Galloway (La Salle)
Ignore La Salle and the rest of the Atlantic 10 at your own risk, but it is almost impossible to miss Ramon Galloway when he takes off for a slam.
In last year’s NIT, all Galloway managed to do was throw down a Michael Jordan like reverse “rock the cradle” dunk. Now that Galloway is in the NCAA tournament, expect even more fireworks.
No. 3: Sam Thompson (Ohio State)
If this was a pure vertical leap ranking, Sam Thompson may top all of college basketball.
Ohio State’s forward uses his jumping ability and pure athleticism to seemingly throw down a jaw-dropping dunk or two per game. In fact, one of the Buckeyes’ go-to plays is a baseline lob to Thompson from under the basket.
And then there are other times when he is so open that he can throw down a routine windmill dunk. Just another day at the office.
No. 2: Victor Oladipo (Indiana)
It’s not every year that a bona fide National Player of the Year candidate is also one of the country’s best dunkers.
Thanks to Victor Oladipo, college basketball fans were treated to such an instance this season. While it may help Indiana more in terms of winning and losing when Oladipo uses his jumping ability to swat shots, it is more fun to watch him soar through the air for rim-rattling dunks.
Unless you played for Illinois in the Big Ten tournament.
No. 1: Markel Brown (Oklahoma State)
Markel Brown may be overshadowed a bit by his excellent teammate Marcus Smart, but nobody outshines Brown at the college level when it comes to dunks.
Brown possesses the perfect combination of the ability to leap out of the gym and the power to rattle rims at the finish. His dunks are electrifying and a primary reason Oklahoma State is so enjoyable to watch.
Rumor has it that Missouri fled for the SEC to avoid more dunks like the ones it saw last year.