It's not every day that a high school kid can completely leap over two people, let alone dunk a basketball at the end of the process. Derrick Jones did just that on his way to winning the 2014 Under Armour Elite 24 dunk contest in Brooklyn, New York, Friday evening.
Not to be outdone, Brandon Ingram demonstrated a silky-smooth shot from behind the three-point line and won the Elite 24 shootout by a single point. It was as thrilling of a three-point contest as fans could ask for, as Ingram and Mitch Ballock dueled it out until the end.
Let's take a look at some Elite 24 details and then the highlights of Friday's action.
Elite 24 Details
The Under Armour Elite 24 brings some of the nation’s best high school basketball players together, and this year’s version takes place at the Brooklyn Bridge Park.
The actual game takes place Saturday, and there will be plenty of pressure to impress. In fact, 40 players from previous games went on to be selected in the first round of the NBA draft, and three were taken with the No. 1 overall pick.
Perhaps the most unique thing about the event is the fact that it occurs on an outdoor court. It gives the fans a chance to be right on the action, which makes for a lively atmosphere. Under Armour Hoops provided a glance at the location:
Here is a look at the rosters.
|Isaiah Briscoe (injured)||2015|
|Derryck Thornton (injured)||2015|
|Dennis Smith Jr.||2016|
|Troy Brown Jr.||2017|
Ingram put on an absolute show during the three-point contest and took home the trophy.
Jayson Tatum, Chase Jeter, Ingram, Ballock and Malik Newman advanced to the second round, and that is where Ingram and Ballock really separated themselves. Ingram scored an impressive 17 to take the lead, but Ballock calmly put up an astounding 21 points to set up a showdown in the finals.
Both Ballock and Ingram lit it up from downtown in the semifinals, but the pace slowed a bit in the finals. Ingram started with 13 points and appeared vulnerable, but Ballock only reached 12 points. Ballock had an opportunity to win it with the final money-ball shot, but it just rimmed out.
Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv and Zagsblog.com pointed out that some of the nation’s best programs have their eye on Ingram:
ICYMI: After Trips to UCLA, Duke and North Carolina Brandon Ingram Planning Kentucky, Louisville, Kansas Visits http://t.co/b2ANTFN3Vv— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) August 22, 2014
After Friday’s performance, that interest certainly isn’t going anywhere. He is incredibly athletic and can attack the rim off the bounce, but his ability to stretch the floor with his shooting display makes him a rare talent.
Where does Ingram end up?
Wherever he ends up, Ingram will make an immediate impact as a freshman. He is 6’8” and can play a variety of positions as a solid defender, ball-handler, rebounder and shooter. He discussed his recruiting process, via Zagoria:
“I know [in] October I’ll be at Kansas [for] ‘Late Night in the Phog.' I know I’ll get out to Kentucky. Louisville I want to get out there, too, after I cut down my list at the end of the month. While I’m in Louisville, I can go over to Kentucky.”
A college decision awaits, but Friday was all about the long ball when he won the three-point shootout.
The headline event of the night was the slam dunk contest where high school kids made a 10-foot hoop look like a child's toy.
The fans didn't have to wait long for some excitement, as Kwe Parker threw down an incredible 360-degree slam off a pass. Hardwood Insiders had the highlight of the dunk:
Unfortunately for Parker, he missed his attempt in the semifinals as the shot clock expired. That opened the door for Jones, who jumped clear over two other Elite 24 invitees who just so happened to be incredibly tall centers.
Hardwood Insiders was rather impressed:
I have to take back my statement..Derrick Jones may have shut down the contest by jumping over two 7 footers #Elite24— hardwoodInsiders.com (@Insiders13) August 22, 2014
One of the people Jones jumped over was 6'11" Stephen Zimmerman. Zimmerman's mother was in the crowd and captured the highlight:
It set up a thrilling championship clash between Jones and Josh Jackson. All Jones did was start with the ball in his right hand, put it through his legs into his left hand while spinning around 360 degrees in the air and then finish with his left. It was an incredible dunk that brought the crowd to its feet.
Jones certainly turned some heads with his athleticism Friday and showed people why some of the best schools in the nation are after his services. Connecticut, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky and Louisville have all been interested in Jones at one point.
He is a 4-star prospect, according to 247Sports' composite rankings, and the No. 35 overall player in the Class of 2015. However, he was the nation's No. 1 dunker Friday night.
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