Buh-Bye Tigers, Deron's Dunks
Wild and largely incompetent finish to the Clemson-Florida State. With the score tied, Florida State botched a possession, then Clemson dribbled of its leg for an over-and-and back, then Al Thornton got bailed out on a drive to the hoop with 1.5 left and made one of two shots. 67-66, 'Noles win. Pretty much knocks Clemson out of the tournament, which is shocking when you consider it was the last to lose this season. Those teams have made at least the Sweet Sixteen every year since 1995. Not this year.
Anyhow, without further ado: Deron Washington and Coleman Collins discussed Washington's dunks yesterday in the locker room. Two surprising facts about "the best dunker in the country," according to Collins: Washington cannot palm a basketball, and his vertical leap is not one of the best on the team. It's about 36 inches, which is the same as Collins. Washington makes up for it, he says, with adrenaline and the fact that when he gets a running start, he can jump much higher. He's also more fearless than any leaper I can recall. There were some moments early in the season when he would try (and fail spectacularly) to jump from about the 3-point to catch a wild alley-oop pass.
For all his YouTube-captured exploits, the public at large hasn't seen his best work. Remember the lay-up when Washington jumped over Greg Pauls? He did that once in high school, excpet he dunked it on the guy.
"I was pretty scared on that one," Washington said.
The reason is obvious for any red-blooded male to figure out. In typically childish fashion, I asked if he was ever worried about banging his, uh, nether regions on an opponent's head when attempting such a move.
"Definitely," Washington said, laughing. "You definitely just quiver a little bit."
When he said that, his knees buckled and he sort of curled up. He laughed pretty hard, too, and then he explained the Paulus move, whether or not he actually tried to jump over him. He said no, not really, it pretty much just happened.
"I was just jumping," he said. "I didn't expect him to stand right there at first."
Collins was saying his best dunk came in practice: a 360 in which he put the ball between his legs. He said someone at practice had taped that dunk and put it one YouTube, and if you search Deron Washington it's one of the first videos to come up. I tried finding it and failed.
"They got to get him in the dunk contest next year," Collins said. "He does the cock-back, slow-motion windmill. He does this one when he bangs it off the rim. He's just got so many."
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