Ranking the Best Dunkers in College Basketball During the 2013-14 Season

By (Featured Columnist) on January 28, 2014

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The 2013-14 season in college basketball has provided no shortage of highlights, thanks in large measure to an impressive array of dunkers. Some of the nation’s biggest stars—not to mention some eye-catching role players—have provided a steady stream of replay-worthy slams.

Syracuse star C.J. Fair, for one, has built a hefty chunk of his Wooden Award portfolio by getting to the rim. The senior forward has picked up right where he left off last season as one of the most intimidating finishers in the country while leading the Orange to an undefeated record so far.

Herein, a closer look at Fair in action, along with 19 more of the nation’s top rim-rockers. Each dunker is ranked according to how often fans can expect to see his best work, along with how strong and how artistic his jams tend to be.

20. Deonte Burton, Marquette

Power: A

Tremendous leaping ability gives Deonte Burton lots of momentum coming down.

 

Style: B 

He doesn't show as much flair as most dunkers his size.

 

Frequency: C+

He does pretty well on a per-minute basis, but the freshman spends large swaths of time on the bench.

19. Tekele Cotton, Wichita State

Power: A

Missouri Valley defenders are learning to fear Tekele Cotton when he gets to the rim.

 

Style: B+

He's on the blue-collar side in this crowd.

 

Frequency: C+

The defensive specialist only scores 9.4 points per game.

18. Joel Embiid, Kansas

Power: B

Despite carrying 250 pounds on a 7’0” frame, Joel Embiid is primarily a finesse center.

 

Style: A-

Impressive mobility lets him slam from some unlikely angles.

 

Frequency: B

More of the offense is running through him, cutting down putback chances.

17. Justin Jackson, Cincinnati

Power: A

In addition to being one of the AAC’s fiercest shot-blockers, Justin Jackson is the league’s most daunting finisher.

 

Style: B

He hews close to a workmanlike example of Bearcats big men past.

 

Frequency: B

A vastly improved offensive game means he’s doing a lot more than dunking these days.

16. Jordan McRae, Tennessee

Power: A-

Volunteers scoring ace Jordan McRae is among the strongest guards in the SEC.

 

Style: B+

He doesn’t often stray far from a basic tomahawk.

 

Frequency: B

He's not racking up above-the-rim highlights at last year’s pace, partly because he’s taking many more three-pointers.

15. Julius Randle, Kentucky

Power: A

The same physicality that lets Julius Randle muscle up a contested shot also fuels his punishing jams.

 

Style: B+

At 250 pounds, he has only so much room for acrobatics.

 

Frequency: B

Double- and triple-teams in half court cut down his opportunities.

14. Andrew Wiggins, Kansas

Power: B+

Kansas scoring leader Andrew Wiggins is tough to handle when he gets any kind of runway.

 

Style: B+

Dunk-contest flair hasn’t really translated to the college court yet.

 

Frequency: B+

He doesn’t attack the paint nearly as much as he should on most nights.

13. Patric Young, Florida

Power: A+

Few players in the country can approach the muscle Patric Young brings on his 6’9”, 240-pound frame.

 

Style: B+

Finesse has never been his game, though Gator point guards help him out with eye-catching alley-oop feeds.

 

Frequency: B

He's more apt to start a fast break as a rebounder than to finish one.

12. Adreian Payne, Michigan State

Power: A

Adreian Payne’s stellar athletic ability is rarely more obvious than when he’s hammering down a dunk.

 

Style: B+

His polished offensive skill set doesn’t necessarily extend to his slams.

 

Frequency: B+

He would be rated much higher if he weren’t battling a foot sprain.

11. Jabari Parker, Duke

Power: A-

Rim-rattling dunks are just one category in which freshman star Jabari Parker leads the Blue Devils.

 

Style: A-

His sensational athleticism pays off in alley-oop and double-clutch chances.

 

Frequency: B+

He's finally bouncing back on offense after an awful start to ACC play.

10. Branden Dawson, Michigan State

Power: A-

Branden Dawson hasn’t yet matched his own lofty standards for in-your-face dunks, but there are still plenty of games left in 2014.

 

Style: A-

He pulls off some of the prettiest alley-oops in the country.

 

Frequency: B+

Like teammate Adreian Payne, he's losing opportunities to injury woes.

9. Casey Prather, Florida

Power: A-

Casey Prather gets all of the leverage he can out of his impressive wingspan.

 

Style: A-

He's one of the best pure alley-oop targets out there.

 

Frequency: A-

The Gators' scoring leader thrives on numerous fast breaks.

8. Sam Thompson, Ohio State

Power: A

Sam Thompson is nicknamed “Slam” for more than just the sound of his first name.

 

Style: A

In his third year as a highlight factory, he stands out even more on vanilla OSU.

 

Frequency: B

A bench role and anemic Buckeyes offense both cut down on his chances.

7. C.J. Fair, Syracuse

Power: A+

As he famously showed Otto Porter Jr. last season, C.J. Fair can dunk over pretty much anyone.

 

Style: B

With so many of his dunks being contested, he rarely adds frills.

 

Frequency: A-

He's a terrific all-purpose scorer, but increased long-range presence cuts down a bit on his slams.

6. Dez Wells, Maryland

Power: A

Defenders who challenge Dez Wells at the rim get more than their money’s worth.

 

Style: B+

He's more businesslike than many top wing players.

 

Frequency: A

He's getting to the rim in the half court more often this season.

5. Raphiael Putney, UMass

Power: A-

Raphiael Putney finishes stronger than he looks, but he’s still a spindly 6’9”, 185 pounds.

 

Style: A

Set up by distributor extraordinaire Chaz Williams, he gets alley-oops in bunches.

 

Frequency: A-

He rarely takes a two-point shot that isn’t a slam, but his scoring average (10.7 points per game) is among the lowest on this list.

4. Okaro White, Florida State

Power: A

Okaro White plays (and dunks) much bigger than his listed 204 pounds.

 

Style: A-

This high-flyer has plenty of time to embellish an uncontested jam.

 

Frequency: A+

The senior leader is having a career year.

3. Michael Qualls, Arkansas

Power: A

Michael Qualls, 6'6", is one of the nation’s most eye-catching leapers.

 

Style: A+

He gets extra points for jamming home one of the year’s best buzzer-beaters to down Kentucky.

 

Frequency: A

The sometime-point guard gets loads of fast-break touches.

2. Markel Brown, Oklahoma State

Power: A

Markel Brown generates impressive explosion at the rim, especially given his lack of exceptional size or bulk.

 

Style: A+

Not many collegians know how to put on a show like he does.

 

Frequency: A+

Uptempo offense plus all-world point guard Marcus Smart equals opportunities galore.

1. Aaron Gordon, Arizona

Power: A+

Aaron Gordon is the strongest player on No. 1 Arizona’s loaded front line.

 

Style: A+

He plays to the crowd at every opportunity.

 

Frequency: A+

A deep Wildcats offense helps keep defenders from keying in on the team’s slam specialist.

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