A slam dunk may be only worth two points, but it is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting plays in all of sports.
Slam dunks combine impressive leaping ability with focused hostility. One nasty throwdown can redirect the momentum of the moment and even the game.
Here are the 10 most electrifying dunkers in college basketball in the last decade. Some of these players are highly recognizable; others are almost unknown.
Here we go!
Before getting into the regular list, a special mention goes to Jacob Tucker of Division III Illinois College.
At 5'11", Tucker is an amazing athlete who won the 2011 NCAA Slam Dunk competition. His vertical leap is an estimated 50 inches.
Some players can do some crazy slams in a competition setting. If you watch the slide video, you will see that Tucker is able to throw down in game situations.
Tucker is in rare company. He definitely can be mentioned in the same conversation as Spud Webb. Back in the day, Webb, at 5’7”, won the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk competition.
Finally, here is some bonus footage: Jacob Tucker 2011 Dunk Video—over five million views on YouTube.
Carlon Brown must like high altitudes. Not only did he play out his college career at the University of Utah and then the University of Colorado, but he was always going way above the rim.
It was a common experience, at either place, for Brown to sail through the air and drop a windmill dunk or three on an innocent opponent.
Brown took it to the Pac-12 in the first conference tournament for Colorado. Not only did he win the tourney’s MVP, but he also helped the Buffs cut down the nets and advance to 2012 March Madness.
Over the years, some people have characterized Duke players as conventional and lacking athleticism.
Gerald Henderson completely shattered that image.
Henderson played a wide-open, high-spirited brand of ball when he laced them up for the Blue Devils in 2006 through 2009. If you gave him an opening, he would get to the rim and viciously throw down.
Along with his obvious physical abilities, Henderson played with a controlled hostility that helped him become Duke’s leading scorer his junior season.
Even today in the NBA, Henderson is creating highlights when he slams over the likes of Dwight Howard.
As both he and Marcus Smart return to Stillwater, we can expect more high-wire highlights from the Cowboys in the 2013-14 season.
In his three years at Indiana, Victor Oladipo went from being a solid bench contributor to a national player of the year candidate.
Indystar’s Terry Hutchens describes the Upper Marlboro (MD) native's meteoric rise:
When Victor Oladipo came to Indiana in the fall of 2010, Rivals.com had 143 players ranked ahead of him in his class.
In November, Oladipo ranked No. 110 on Chad Ford's NBA draft board on ESPN.com.
Now Ford has him at No. 5 and moving up. There has even been talk that IU's junior guard could be the No. 1 pick overall.
As a Hoosier, Oladipo played with ferocity at both ends of the court. His determination as a defender created steals that translated into slams. Even in IU's half-court offense, he was adept at finding an opening, turning the corner and exploding to the basket.
Arizona’s Derrick Williams was the perfect example of what hard work and resolve can accomplish.
When he arrived in Tucson in 2009, Williams was a developing combo forward looking to help Sean Miller get things started in a new era of Wildcat basketball. Instead of making gradual progress, Williams blew up. He became the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and then, a year later, the 2011 Pac-10 Player of the Year.
His U of A bio states that “no player in Arizona history scored more points in his first two college season's [sic] than Williams' 1,227 points (17.8 PPG).”
Rim-rattling slams and tomahawk dunks became a staple for his game. Even when he was double-teamed or drawing contact, Williams had a knack for elevating above the rim and throwing a nasty one down.
Some of the great dunkers of all time could do creative work high above the rim. James White can do that, but he also adds some outstanding length to some of his dunks.
Not satisfied with just throwing down, White was known at Cincinnati for taking off at or near the free-throw line and soaring all the way to the rim.
Even though “Flight” White came up second to UNC's David Noel in the 2006 Final Four competition, his total body of work elevates his standing as one of the most captivating collegiate dunkers in the last 10 years.
Deron Washington had a decent college career, averaging 11 points and 5.4 rebounds per game over his four years at Virginia Tech. Even if you are a hardcore ACC hoops junkie, you may not remember much about the 6’7” SF.
One thing that Washington could do was dunk a basketball. He was long-limbed and lanky. He didn’t have the bulk to bang down low. But, if you gave him a seam, he would elevate and throw it down…hard.
You did not have to watch Hakim Warrick very long during his Syracuse days before you were seeing him catch and jam an alley-oop or drive baseline and deliver a backboard-shaking dunk.
At 6’9”, Warrick combined some serious length with freakish athleticism to produce a high volume of powerful pandemonium on the glass. Some of the best defenders were on the awkward receiving end of his thunderous throwdowns. Texas Longhorn Royal Ivey will probably remember this one for a very long time.
Even though Carmelo Anthony deserved the 2003 Final Four MVP as the Orange won it all, Warrick played a huge role in securing the victory by blocking a late Kansas FG attempt.
If you know what’s good for you, do not stand under the basket when Detroit’s Doug Anderson is driving the lane. If you choose to do so, you have been warned!
Seriously, when Anderson gets the ball, a dunk is coming soon. His Titans bio shares that 135 of his 293 made field-goal attempts over the last two years were slams.
Spectacular. Remarkable. Amazing. These are just a few words that could describe his work above the rim.
Anderson currently holds the distinction of the best dunker in college basketball after he won the college competition at the 2013 Final Four.
Anytime that Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin was near the basket, there was a good chance that you were going to see something special.
Sometimes he was catching insane alley-oops that no one in the arena believed he could get. Other times, he would blow past a slow-footed defender that helplessly looked on as he slammed one that was destined for a SportsCenter Top 10 entry.
Griffin was not simply a sideshow performer. In his sophomore season, he swept every national player of the year award. His OU bio details the fact that, in his second and final year in college hoops, he led the nation in rebounds (14.4 RPG) and double-doubles (30; one short of David Robinson’s national record).