By now, the college basketball world has seen Jamaal Franklin all but claim ‘Dunk of the Year’ crown nine days into the New Year, when he threw an alley oop to himself off the backboard.
The San Diego State junior threw the ball to himself on a 3-on-3 break in the second half of the Aztecs 65-62 win over Fresno State on Wednesday (reaction to the dunk).
Franklin completely overshadowed Brandon Paul’s posterization of Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe in Illinois’s win over the Gophers on the same night. The day before, Ohio State’s Sam Thompson dunked over a 7-footer, but that instantly became a distance memory.
Franklin even took down Victor Dukes, the Arkansas sophomore without a recruiting page on Rivals or ESPN, but has almost two million views on YouTube.
However, for some of Franklin’s Aztec teammates, it wasn’t that impressive.
“I’ve actually seen him do it better,” DeShawn Stephens told Mark Zeigler of the San Diego Union-Tribune on Thursday. “I’ve seen him catch it and dunk one-handed – crazy.”
Franklin went on to tell Zeigler how exactly he was able to pull of the current titleholder of the year’s best dunk:
“Just playing around,” he said. “I gradually figured out that it works because when you throw the ball, people think you’re throwing an alley oop to someone else. The natural reaction as a defender is to turn your head. But by the time you turn your head, the ball is already hitting off the backboard and I’m already in the air.
“The hardest part is getting the ball to the backboard, because you’re throwing the ball going so fast that you could throw it too hard. The dunk is the easy part.”
Franklin is averaging a double-double this year, 17.4 points and 10.5 rebounds per game leading the No. 16 Aztecs in both those categories. San Diego State has a tough Mountain West Conference game Saturday night against Colorado State. The Rams enter with an identical 13-2 record.
The game tips at 8 p.m. on the NBC Sports Network.