Arizona Basketball

Which alley-oop dunk was better for Arizona Wildcats’ Nick Johnson?


LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Arizona Wildcats junior guard Nick Johnson was asked which of his electrifying two alley-oop dunks in the 63-43 win over Colorado on Friday night was his best.

The first was a lob in transition in the first half from Aaron Gordon. Johnson grabbed the pass one-handed, and in one swooping motion, made the emphatic slam. Bill Walton, sitting courtside at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, shook his head continuously in amazement.

The second was a lob from T.J. McConnell in a halfcourt set coming out of a timeout in the second half. Johnson went backdoor and made a behind-the-back jam off McConnell’s feed. The dunk ignited a 17-3 run for Arizona that effectively knocked out the Buffaloes.

“The one from T.J. is my favorite because all year I’ve been begging him to throw me lobs,” Johnson said with a smile. “I said to him, ‘I don’t have a 47-inch vertical (leap) for nothing. You need to trust me.’

“Coming out of the timeout, I told him, ‘I am gonna go backdoor. Get me the ball.’ He trusted me. He threw it up even though a guy was there. After that, he came up to me and said, ‘OK, I trust you and I trust myself as well.'”

T.J. McConnell's alley-oop pass to Nick Johnson ignited Arizona's knockout run in the second half (Pac-12 Networks video capture)

T.J. McConnell’s alley-oop pass to Nick Johnson ignited Arizona’s knockout run in the second half (Pac-12 Networks video capture)

McConnell was hesitant to make a lob to Johnson this season because “I don’t trust myself to make that perfect pass like that,” he said.

“We drew up the plan coming out of the timeout,” McConnell continued. “It’s not that I don’t trust him. … He finished with what was one of the greatest dunks I’ve seen in a while.”

Gabe York, who knows how to make the spectacular dunk as well, gave Johnson a score of “8” out of 10 with the dunk off Gordon’s lob.

“I gave that an 8 for him,” York said. “Now, that’s an 8 for him. For most everybody, it’s a 10. I’ve seen him do way crazier stuff than that. I am going to be a tough judge and give him an 8.” publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.


To Top