basketball-men-d1 flag

Andy Wittry | NCAA.com | February 15, 2020

2020 NBA Slam Dunk contest: Best college dunks by Derrick Jones Jr., Aaron Gordon and Pat Connaughton

2020 NBA All-Stars and their March Madness days

The 2020 NBA Slam Dunk contest is here and three of the four participants played college basketball — Orlando's Aaron Gordon (Arizona), Miami's Derrick Jones Jr. (UNLV) and Milwaukee's Pat Connaughton (Notre Dame) — all but Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard.

You can watch the 2020 NBA slam-dunk contest on TNT at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 15.

Before these players were competing on one of the biggest stages to display athleticism in professional basketball — the dunk contest — they were throwing down acrobatic dunks at the college level.

We found some of the best dunks from their college days to remind fans of where these dunkers started.

Aaron Gordon

College: Arizona

Years active: 2013-14

Sure, we've all seen alley-oops before but what about a reverse alley-oop in transition against UCLA?

Because Aaron Gordon's done that.

T.J. McConnell, who threw the alley-oop shown above, and Gordon had a special connection on the court. Here's one off of an inbounds pass to finish off a game against San Diego State.

Now, here's Gordon getting the dunk off of his own inbounds play.

MARCHING TOWARDS MADNESS: Top 16 seeds revealed by NCAA Men's Basketball Selection Committee

Derrick Jones Jr.

College: UNLV

Years active: 2015-16

This may have been the moment when we all know Derrick Jones Jr. was going to compete in the NBA slam dunk contest someday. In a game in which UNLV was leading 73-20 (!), he threw down a massive, one-handed tomahawk.

If you're a defender who's assigned to provide help-side defense on Jones after he slips a screen, we have one piece of advice: get out of the way.

We'd also venture a guess that Jones could dunk on an 11-foot rim.

He was also good for what felt like one or two emphatic put-back or tip-in dunks per game.

Pat Connaughton

College: Notre Dame

Years active: 2011-15

Here's Pat Connaughton creating his own offense and dunking all over a Kentucky team that hadn't lost up to that point in the season. Connaughton and Notre Dame put a real scare in the Wildcats.

Kentucky wasn't the only power that Connaughton had a big dunk on in his college career. He also drove and met Duke's Jabari Parker — ever heard of him? — at the rim and completed the flush.

Don't question Connaughton's dunking ability, after all, he posted a 44-inch max vertical leap at the NBA Combine.

Eye-popping numbers from Taryne Mowatt's 2007 WCWS performance

Taryne Mowatt threw over 1,000 pitches in her long journey to the national title in 2007. Here are nine remarkable records from Mowatt's 2007 WCWS performance.
READ MORE

Here's how Arizona got the nickname the 'Wildcats'

Here's how the University of Arizona's mascot became the Wildcats, including the various live mascots the school had.
READ MORE

Best Arizona softball players: The all-time lineup

We looked at the top college softball players to ever play at Arizona and put together one version of an Arizona softball dream team. Here is the ultimate Arizona team that includes the likes of Jenny Dalton, Alison Johnsen McCutcheon, and Jennie Finch.
READ MORE

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners