Before a number of NBA and WNBA stars made their names in professional basketball, they first burst onto the scene at the McDonald's All-American Game. Ahead of Wednesday's event, the best in high school basketball showcased their skills during the Powerade Jam Fest in Chicago.
There were a total of four different events on the night, with the boys' and girls' skill competitions and three-point shootouts and the boys' slam dunk contest.
Here's a full list of the winners.
|Powerade Jam Fest Winners|
|Boys' Skills Competition||Jalen Brunson||Villanova|
|Girls' Skills Competition||Napheesa Collier||Connecticut|
|Boys' Three-Point Shootout||Luke Kennard||Duke|
|Girls' Three-Point Shootout||Asia Durr||Louisville|
|Slam Dunk Contest||Dwayne Bacon||Florida State|
|Recruit info courtesy of 247Sports and ESPN.com|
Jalen Brunson and Napheesa Collier won the boys' and girls' skills competitions respectively:
According to Michael O'Brien of the Chicago Sun-Times, Brunson is the first hometown player to capture the title:
Luke Kennard reigned supreme with 23 made shots in the boys' three-point contest. Brunson made a last-ditch effort to try to get Kennard disqualified:
Asia Durr took home the honor on the girls' side with a final score of 16, which led to a battle of the sexes, which Kennard won.
Of course, the marquee event of the night was the dunk contest, an event which has seen the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, Blake Griffin and LeBron James.
Dwayne Bacon helped to get the first round off to a roaring start with a thunderous right-handed jam. He got a little help from Isaiah Briscoe, who delivered a perfect pass off the side of the backboard:
Stephen Zimmerman matched Bacon with a vicious left-handed windmill dunk. He emulated Griffin a bit with the back-to-the-basket, between-the-legs pass to himself off the glass:
Carlton Bragg might have had the best single dunk of the night, though. He gathered in a bounce pass and quickly transferred the ball between his legs for a nasty right-handed slam:
As Cleveland.com's David Cassilo noted, it warranted the first perfect score:
Those three moved on to the second round and continued with a dazzling display that rivaled anything from the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. A strong argument could be made that the high school version regularly surpasses its pro counterpart in terms of quality.
Eventually, Zimmerman and Bacon clashed in the final.
Zimmerman's final dunk involved Ronald McDonald, a decision which ultimately proved to be the downfall for Zimmerman. He and the McDonald's mascot couldn't sync up the pass before his slam, and he failed to register a dunk for the round.
Ben Roberts of the Lexington Herald-Leader thought Zimmerman's failure could be a learning experience for everybody:
Although that allowed Bacon a relatively easy road to the title, Bacon still decided to up the difficulty level. He dunked over ESPN analyst Jalen Rose to lock up the championship:
Brian Cassella of the Chicago Sun-Times brilliantly captured the moment Bacon sailed over Rose:
According to 247Sports' composite rankings, Bacon is the third-best shooting guard and 17th-best player overall in the 2015 recruiting class. The Florida State commit certainly gave Seminoles fans something to look forward to next year.
Throw in Zimmerman and Bragg as well, and college basketball won't be short on highlight-reel dunkers when the 2015-16 season gets underway.