By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
Few plays in basketball are more exciting than a rim-rattling slam dunk. And while University of Hawaii Rainbow Warrior basketball has never had an aerial dunk artist like, say, a Vince Carter or Dominique Wilkins, UH fans have witnessed their share of great dunkers. Here is one (very subjective) list of the best aerial artists in program history. (Note: Dunking was outlawed in college hoops from 1967 to 1976.) Let me know if I flubbed any of my choices!
♦ TROY OSTLER (2000-01): At 6-10, Ostler was primarily a forward at UH, but he played center on occasion. He was a good leaper who dunked with authority.
♦ TONY MARONEY (1994-95): We’re going with quantity over quality here. Standing 7-2, this gentle giant dunked a lot, and few opposing centers were big enough to stop him.
♦ MIKE THOMAS (2014-18): A late bloomer, Thomas came into his own as a junior and senior and really began to attack the basket. He was one of the quicker leapers at UH.
♦ AARON VALDES (2014-16): He had the full arsenal of dunks: put-backs, alley-oops, one-handed, two-handed, etc. In a 2014 game against Nebraska, Valdes caught a three-quarter court alley-oop with one hand, spun around in mid-air, and jammed the ball throgh the rim. Take a look:
♦ JULIAN SENSLEY (2004-06): Perhaps the most powerful dunker in UH history. Used his big, athletic frame to attack the rim with sheer ferocity.
♦ ERIN GALLOWAY (1998-99): “The Helicopter.” Galloway was never fancy with his dunks, but he threw it down early and often. He might have been the quickest dunker in the history of the program. He got up there fast.
♦ RODERICK FLEMINGS (2009-10): Specialized in throwing down one-handed alley-oops. I remember one alley-oop slam where Flemings reached out with his outstretched left hand, snared the ball and then just windmilled it into the hoop. Good ol’ Jim Leahey went crazy.
♦ JUSTICE SUEING (1995-96): Sueing had the perfect package of size, build and jumping ability. And he loved to take it hard to the rim. See for yourself:
♦ ANTHONY CARTER (1997-98): AC delighted Hawaii fans with his soaring slams. Although he only stood 6-2, Carter could sky with the best of them. I remember interviewing Riley Wallace shortly before Carter’s arrival,at UH, and he said, “You’re going to love Anthony Carter. He’s got hops.”
♦ PHIL LOTT (1989-92): An athletic shooting guard who loved to attack the rim with his one-handed, wind-up slams.
♦ ANDRE MORGAN (1984-86): A heralded recruit out of Indiana, the 6-4 Morgan had tons of ability. Against Kenny Walker and the Kentucky Wildcats, Morgan powered in a one-handed put-back jam that even impressed the perennial NCAA powerhouse.
♦ JASON CARTER (2003-04): My shortest dunker on this list, the 5-10 leaper thrilled Rainbow Warrior fans with his aerial assaults on the basket. Admittedly, he didn’t dunk very much, but he put down a few alley-oops that were pretty spectacular. Did I mention he’s 5-10?
♦ CHRIS GAINES (1987-90): The late, great Chris Gaines was known more for his smooth jumper than his high-flying dunks, but he threw down some memorable ones, particularly off set plays that UH called the “Special.”
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