Sunday, April 3, 2011

Jacob Tucker Proves That White Men Can Jump

Jacob Tucker is a 5-foot-11 point guard who plays for the Blueboys of Division III Illinois College in Jacksonville Illinois.  Don't let the height fool you though Tucker possesses a 50 inch vertical and an arsenal of dunks that would make even Blake Griffin jealous.  Over the weekend Tucker used his ridiculous array of dunks to win the NCAA Denny's Slam Dunk contest that was held at the same time as the Final Four in Houston.

The rest of the field consisted of players from Division I schools: Pittsburgh's Gilbert Brown, St. John's Justin Burrell, Memphis' Will Coleman, East Tennessee State's Justin Tubbs, San Diego State's Billy White, Cincinnati's Darnell Wilks and UNC-Asheville's John Williams.   Not only was Tucker from the smallest school at 5-foot-11 he was also the shortest competitor by about four inches.

Tucker, who was labeled as a "dark horse" by celebrity judge Karl Malone, was almost left out of the contest entirely as before a month ago he was an unknown playing for one of the smallest schools in the entire country (enrollment is just over 1000 students).  But thanks to an audition video that went viral after being mentioned by Jim Rome on his ESPN television show Tucker was thrust into the national spotlight.  He then went on to win an online vote thus earning a chance to compete.

“The last three weeks have been a blur,” Tucker said during an interview with his schools athletics website. “I never really expected this when I made the video – I wasn’t even sure it was good enough to get me into the contest – but it’s been an unbelievable ride.”

Its nice to see that the NCAA caved to public pressure and let Tucker participate in the event as normally in the past a Division III athlete wouldn't be allowed anywhere near the Slam Dunk Contest.  It really goes to show the power of social media and sites like YouTube and Twitter as without them Tucker would have had no chance of competing.  The NCAA was smart to recognize the positive publicity they could get by allowing to participate and made the right decision.

Here is the footage of his dunks from the contest:

What I really like about Tucker is how well he has handled himself dealing with all the attention before and after the contest.  He was clearly out of his element being the center of attention on a national stage but he didn't buckle under the pressure and not only performed well in the contest but did a great job answering questions during interviews.  In all the videos I have watched and interviews I have read he seems like a really humble guy who was just happy to be there and excited to represent his school.

People love an underdog story and Tucker fits the mold perfectly. Add that to the fact that his victory completely goes against one of the funnier stereotypes in sports (that white guys suck at dunking and can't jump) and you have yourself a perfect story.

Random YouTube Video

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