Blake Griffin’s recent face-melter over Kendrick Perkins sparked a fire on the internet that got us wondering: what are the greatest dunks in Syracuse Basketball history?
The trouble in this exercise of course, is that it is nearly impossible to find any dunks from before the new millennium. The earliest dunk on this list is from 1996, and that one is on the internet by accident. So although you won’t see anything from past stars Derrick Coleman, John Wallace, Billy Owens or the like, there’s still plenty to love about this list.
- Andy Rautins at Providence – 2010
A short but sweet way to start off the countdown. As far as anyone can tell, this is Randy Rautins’ only dunk in his four year career. Bonus points for the Matt Park original radio call that accompanies it.
- Donovan McNabb vs. Somebody – 1996
Hard to tell who McNabb throws it down against here, but he does get a decent finish plus the foul. The real play in this one is the behind the head pass by the white guy. If I had to guess, I’d say that’s Jason Cipolla showing off, but I can’t be sure.
- Wes Johnson vs. Depaul – 2010
Wes Johnson probably could have had 6 dunks on this countdown, but we had to settle on one. Depaul didn’t win a single game in the Big East regular season in 2009-2010, but they had Syracuse on the ropes for most of this game. It was so terrifying that it had two members of the What Are Do Team changing their shirts every timeout to try and change the momentum. It worked, as Syracuse escaped in a squeaker.
- Terrence Roberts at Lousiville – 2005
I was disappointed when making this list that I couldn’t find two specific T-Rob dunks. I swear I remember Roberts giving facials to both Aaron Grey and Josh Boone during the 2006 Big East tournament, and then revving his motorcycle all up in their faces. This is actually a pretty sweet dunk though. Two thumbs up to the person that created this video. Every T-Rob dunk was thrown down with a “Hate Me Now” attitude.
- Kristoff Ongenaet vs. Louisville – 2006 Big East Tournament
Hard to watch, but a terrific dunk nonetheless. I like to think that Kristoff! was so concerned about getting a technical for hanging on the rim that he let go. That’s the player Kristoff! was. I hope he makes a return later in the countdown…
- #10. C.J. Fair vs. Pittsburgh – 2012
C.J. Fair announced his presence at Syracuse when he dunked on some jabroni from Cornell as a freshman. I had to cut one of his dunks though, and I decided to keep his most recent because of the opponent and exposure. After bending over for Pitt since 2006, Syracuse FINNALLY (Brent Axe spelling) got over the hump this year with the help of this rim rocker. Not fair indeed.
- #9. Paul Harris vs. Villanova – 2009
I don’t know what it was about Villanova, but they always seemed to bring out the best in Do it A11 Paul. Trust me, we’ll see later. To me, this dunk has gotten better with age. I struggled to rank it because I honestly think it’s a tremendous dunk that could be higher on this list. Quite frankly, the fact that anyone from Syracuse got the better of Dante Cunningham might be worth a boost up the rankings.
- #8. Louie McCroskey vs. Connecticut – 2006
LOL. I’m all for dunking on someone and showing them up, but consider the context of this one. After an exhaustive search for the play-by-play of this game, I determined that sweet Louie’s dunk came with 1:33 left in the first half while ‘Cuse was down 42-19! Although to be fair, Louie was dumb enough that perhaps he thought dunking on Hilton Armstrong was worth 30 points.
- #7. Paul Harris at Villanova – 2007
Just Paul Harris posterizing ‘Nova again. The reaction of every Syracuse player is really what makes this so great. Paul Harris is Duaney-ing down the court, Josh Wright pops his jersey for some reason, and Devendorf is hop-skotching on the bench. Syracuse lost this game, which ultimately cost the team a shot at the NCAA Tournament. Except of course for Demetrius Nichols, who’s still waiting for the fifth region to be announced in the bracket.
- #6. Josh Wright vs. Holy Cross – 2005
The hardest dunk to find on this list. Two members of the What Are Do team were in attendance, so we knew it happened. This dunk is really the culmination of a number of terrible ideas. I highly doubt Boeheim would call an alley-0op for a 5’10” point guard, so this was Devendorf and Wright on their own. The result is quite something, however. Notice the exasperated look on Wright’s face as he presumably gets called for hanging on the rim. Story of his life.
- #5. Kristoff Ongenaet vs. Marquette – 2008
Kristoff! Waffles everywhere! I love everything about this dunk. From the no-call on the jump ball, to the single best crossover in the history of basketball, all the way to the spaz patrol landing, this is gold. Syracuse got a big win to put them on the right side of the bubble in this game, but happiness was short lived. Villanova routed Syracuse in the first round of the Big East Tournament to end any NCAA hopes.
- #4. C.J. Fair vs. Depaul – 2011
What Are Do favorite Dickie Simpkins checks in and gives us the very best call of any of the dunks on our list. I’ll just let his words do all the talking for this one.
- #3. Jonny Flynn at Rutgers – 2009
Now we get to the big boy dunks. I chose this specific video of this one to get the full effect of the crowd. Though it may be hard to remember, Jonny Flynn actually tried this kind of dunk at least 10 times before he actually finished one. It was worth the wait though. This was so demoralizing for Mike Rosario that he decided to leave the state of New Jersey and never show his face there again. A smart move on his part.
- #2. Hakim Warrick at Notre Dame – 2004
BOOM. If you’ve ever heard me shouting “bring your lunch!” randomly during sports, this dunk is the reason. Everyone in the gym is taken by surprise, especially Warrick’s defender. Who can blame him really? I can’t recall ever seeing a dunk like this. It could easily be #1 if Warrick hadn’t stolen the trophy from himself…
- #1. Hakim Warrick vs. Texas – 2003 NCAA Semi-finals
The Teabag Dunk. Warrick nearly clears Royal Ivey completely, who would have probably preferred that. Considering the opponent and game, this is an easy choice for #1. Unless Fab Melo can do a 360 degree between the legs tomahawk at the Final Four this year, Warrick’s dunk will be safe at #1 for a while.