Tracking The Four: Midseason Dunks of the YearPosted by EJacoby on January 13th, 2012
Evan Jacoby is an RTC columnist and contributor. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter. TT4 will cover four selected teams of interest – Syracuse, Indiana, Murray State, and UNLV – by tracking their ups, downs, and exciting developments throughout the course of the season.
Welcome back to Tracking The Four! Remember that TT4 will run as a full piece on Tuesdays, and on Fridays we will post a shorter ‘wildcard’ edition of fun content from each team. This week, we present you with the TT4 Midseason Dunks of the Year. Some of these have become instant classic moments that are recognizable plays. We’ve embedded the top slam from each team for your enjoyment.
Indiana’s had plenty of highlight exposure on ESPN and your favorite basketball shows. Most notably, we all remember Christian Watford’s game-winning shot to beat Kentucky on December 10. But earlier in that game, Victor Oladipo absolutely brought the house down with an arena-shaking slam that brought the building to its feet. This one is the Dunk of the Year to me, right now, simply because of the magnitude of the play, giving huge momentum to Indiana in the second half against the #1 team in the country. Just watch the reaction to this dunk:
Any time you can have Dickie V scream out, “Are you SERIOUS America??!?!”, you know it was something special. This most amazing part of this dunk to me? He blows right by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist up top, one of the best perimeter defenders in college basketball. This dunk won’t be forgotten by anyone in Bloomington for a long time.
Reserve guard Dion Waiters is having himself quite a year. At 12.9 points per game, he’s within a point of leading the team in scoring despite coming off the bench in every game. He’s undoubtedly the best Sixth Man in the country and may even be on the short list for First Team All-Big East. When’s the last time a guy made All-Conference as a reserve? One of the things Waiters does best is deliver vicious dunks in transition. This clip shows us his work against George Washington on December 10, including a ridiculous hammer slam on an unsuspecting defender:
The only criticism we have of Waiters is that he does the same dunk every time!! Any search for Syracuse top plays will surely bring you to a Waiters highlight of him cocking the ball to the right side before throwing it down hard and landing on two feet for a celebration towards the crowd. At least he has it down pat, and this is becoming a trademark dunk by the talented sophomore.
Murray State Racers
The Racers have been doing their best work from the perimeter, where they are fourth in the country in three-point shooting percentage. But Isaiah Canaan has been proving all season that he’s one of the most complete guards in college basketball. We’re having trouble finding footage of dunks from this season, but take a look at these two Canaan slams from last January, which still count as part of this calendar year! First he received an alley-oop in transition here, and then in the embedded video below he, well, STUFFED IT:
Canaan is making sure everybody knows his name this season for the undefeated Racers. When we find some footage from his top plays of this season, we will show it to you immediately!
UNLV Runnin’ Rebels
The Runnin’ Rebels have several great athletes capable of making Sportscenter, and Mike Moser is the guy you’ll find throwing reverse dunks on the regular. But in UNLV’s defining moment of this season thus far, it was a guard who stole the show. Anthony Marshall decided to wreak havoc on #1 North Carolina early in the first half to send a message that his team was coming to play that day on November 26:
Just like the Oladipo play for IU, this dunk had extra special significance for UNLV, as it led to the eventual takedown of the top team in the land. Marshall will go down in Rebels lore for helping spark the program’s biggest win in a long time.