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Tuesday, October 19, 2010
UC Irvine coach's dunk is a show-stopper

By Diamond Leung

UC Irvine coach Russell Turner confirmed to me over the weekend that he had in fact dunked at the team's Midnight Magic event, and he needed only one try to throw one down.

I wasn't going to expand on this until I saw this photo of Turner's dunk in the New University, UC Irvine's student newspaper and read the account of how after senior Darren Moore won the dunk contest, the first-year coach stole the show.
Although Moore took home bragging rights for the second consecutive year, it was head coach Russell Turner's dunk that brought down the house. Starting at the top of the key, Turner threw down a one-handed slam that got the Bren Events Center crowd on their feet.

"I told my guys to go out there and be themselves," Turner said. "This is the type of event, that if you do it well people will come out and support our team, and that responsibility is on us to be a supportable team."

Yep, the 39-year-old Turner did a dunk that came with style points.

Does that alone make him a slam-dunk hire for UC Irvine? No.

But it does speak to the 6-foot-7 former NBA assistant coach's ability to generate a buzz on campus for an Anteaters program that has never qualified for the NCAA tournament.

UPDATE: UC Irvine has released video of the dunk.