It took all the energy he had at the end of a long day, but Oreon Courtney summoned up one final, exclamation-point windmill dunk to capture the slam-dunk crown at the ‘Iolani Prep Classic on Thursday night.
West Linn had lost a battle with the nation’s sixth-ranked team, La Lumiere, mere minutes before the dunk competition began at roughly 10 p.m. The 6-foot-3 senior had plenty of competition from a deep field that included sky-walking Niven Glover of Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.). Glover had some of the most crowd-pleasing dunks of the contest. His final dunk, with flip-flops on instead of his shoes, was a under-the-legs windmill off a pass off the back wall. That earned a mix of 10’s and 9’s from the judging panel, but the 9’s were enough to give Courtney an opportunity, and he delivered.
Courtney’s second and final dunk in the finals came on a lob off the back wall, throwing it down off the bounce — much like Josh Smith of Oak Hill did several years ago.
The final round, consisting of two dunks per player, was competitive. Westchester’s Jordan Brinson, a 6-3 guard, was in the running, too. He soared over two teammates with a two-footed dunk that took just two attempts in the 60-second limit.
Courtney followed by lining up on the left wing and taking off, dunking over three teammates. That received a near-perfect score of 49 from the panel. Then came Glover’s first try in the finals, a simple alley-oop bounce to himself, soaring for a one-handed slam. His head was, as usual, at rim level. That got 10’s from all but one judge, who gave Glover a 7.
After the contest, Glover put his shoes back on for an unofficial dunk, a pure two-handed power dunk off two feet down the middle. His head basically was a rim level, a likely perfect score if it had counted. The day before the contest, the 6-5 guard said he would show fans something “crazy.” He didn’t disappoint.
“It’s all good,” Glover said as fans posed with him for photos and got his autographs.
The entire dunk contest ran roughly twice as long as usual and had a star-studded panel featuring Max Holloway and Yancy Medeiros of UFC fame and Kolten Wong of the St. Louis Cardinals. Holloway proved to be a tough judge, but not quite as demanding as ‘Iolani girls basketball coach Dean Young, son of the Classic founder Glenn Young.
“Da Bruddahs” of local comedy fame were the MCs, and between the first and second rounds, they put a dance challenge out to the packed house. That dance-off drew cheers almost as loud as the dunk contest.