Throughout the month of October, CollegeBasketballTalk will be rolling out our previews for the 2012-2013 season. Check back at 9 a.m. and just after lunch every day, Monday-Friday, for a new preview item.
Next to only the game-winning buzzer-beater, the dunk is the greatest single moment in any single college basketball game. The multitude of various scenarios in which a dunk can take place leaves fans on the edge of their seats. A dunk can ignite a crowd, silence an opposition or fuel a comeback.
Everybody wishes they could dunk, but only a select few are granted the ability to do so. Of these select few, only a smaller group, a “squadron” if you will, of elite rim rockers emerge each season to captivate us with their athleticism, grace, and raw power.
2012-2013 Preseason Top-10 Ranking of Best Dunkers
Honorable Mention: Kwame Alexander – Cal State San Bernadino (DII), Deuce Bello – Baylor, Vander Blue – Marquette, Ramon Galloway – La Salle, Pierre Jackson – Baylor, Mason Plumlee – Duke, Tahj Tate – Delaware State, Dezmine Wells – Maryland
10. Chris Evans, 6-7, Sr., Kent State
We are going off the map for No.10 with the Golden Flashes’ do-everything small forward. Evans won’t wow you, but he will dunk in your face, no questions asked. The former-JuCo star doesn’t have elite leaping ability but he has great timing, a quick first bounce, and can run the floor well. Like, really really well.
Evans flew under the radar in 2011-2012. If defenders knew what was good for them, they would make sure he’s scouted and accounted for in 2012-2013.
9. Ronald Roberts, 6-8, Jr., St. Joseph’s
The 2011-2012 Atlantic-10 Sixth man of the Year has some serious length to go along with his well-rounded skill set. He was named as the “Most Improved Player” on the team last season, and was due in large part to his elite aerial acumen. Many of Roberts’ dunks came in prototypical “Sixth Man” fashion: off of missed shots, broken plays and backdoor cuts.
Roberts may not be the most flashy dunker in the country, but he’s bound to be one of the most constant and consistent dunkers in 2012-2013. As long as Ronald Roberts is flying high, the St. Joe’s Hawk will never die.
8. Laurence Bowers, 6-8, Sr., Missouri
Remember Laurence Bowers? You don’t but you probably should. The springy forward tore his ACL during the preseason last year and missed all of the 2011-2012 season. But if you remember anything about the 2010-2011 season, you remember Bower’s freakish aerial abilities. Now, it would be naive of us to expect Bowers to be the same dunker he was before the ACL injury. But if you remember watching him dunk, you know that even an ACL tear won’t hinder his dunking prowess too much.
7. Victor Rudd, 6-7, Jr., South Florida
Victor Rudd only had one spectacular dunk last season. But boy was it spectacular. The extra-long South Florida small forward isn’t the most adept dunker, but man, he can really throw down.
No joke, Rudd tried to parlay the success from his signature moment into an early entry into the 2012 NBA. Luckily, somebody got to him soon enough and told him to go back to school. Rudd isn’t going to wow you on a consistent basis, but every time he gets the ball on a fast break, you’re going to be sitting on the edge of your seat. Trust me.
6. Kyisean Reed, 6-6, Sr., Utah State
There is not a player in the country more talented at dunking off of two feet than Kyisean Reed. He won’t be taking anybody off the dribble from the foul line, tongue out, but if he’s in and around the paint, it’s likely that Reed is jumping higher than everybody around him. His sheer bounce is more bouncy than most everyone in the country, and his strength on the throw-down is equally impressive.
Plus, Reed loves the spotlight. All the great dunkers do.
5. C.J. Fair, 6-8, Jr., Syracuse
C.J. Fair is the total package when it comes to above the rim action. The junior forward has great athleticism, excellent length, a deep bag of tricks and an effortless delivery. He has a solid resume of posterizations, and is the type of player that defenders tend to forget about every other play or so. Unfortunately, C.J. Fair is the last player you want to forget about on defense.
4. Shaquille Johnson, 6-5, Fr., Auburn
It’s very simple. Shaquille Johnson is the real deal. He is the next big thing. Peep the video and you will see why.
3. Andre Roberson, 6-7, Jr., Colorado
Like many of the other members of the top-10, Roberson has a long frame and can glide through the paint with ease. His lightweight build makes it easy for him to get up in a hurry and beat his defender to the basket.
The junior hasn’t shown the deepest bag of tricks but he is rather good at one-handed posterizations. We’re certain that Roberson will diversify his aerial arsenal in 2012-2013. Expect big things out of Roberson and his Buffs squad.
2. Rodney Williams, 6-7, Sr., Minnesota
Rodney Williams does it all. He’s got elite athleticism, tremendous leaping ability and a phenomenal court sense. No dunker in the country is as good at Williams when it comes to finding an open flight path to the basket. His spacing on the court is precise, and has the ability to mix up the style of his dunks.
Williams is not without his flaws. His 1-on-1 skills are limited and doesn’t have the best touch from beyond 12 feet. While he may struggle to find a consistent jump shot there is no doubt that he is always on-point with his dunks. Rodney Williams has shown time and time again that he is one of the very best dunkers in the country.
1. Markel Brown, 6-3, Jr., Oklahoma State
Markel “Bad News” Brown is the baddest man on the college hoops planet.
Markel Brown is a freak athlete, a composer of beautiful yet precise violence, and has very little regard for human life. Case and point, January 25, 2012 in Stillwater, OK. That’s the date and location of when Markel Brown got ejected from a game against Missouri because he wouldn’t stop dunking all over everybody.
In the entire pantheon of college basketball There has never been a single game performance in which one individual caused such a massive path of dunk destruction as Markel Brown versus Missouri.
Oh, and then there was the time “Bad News Brown” caught a three-quarter quart alley-oop against Kansas as time expired.
Troy Machir is the managing editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @TroyMachir.