Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Dunk City is in good hands
By Eamonn Brennan
Have you heard of Christian Terrell? If not, don't feel bad. Terrell, a high school point guard from Jacksonville, Fla., is better than your average bear at the game of basketball, of course. But as college hoops recruits go, he's hardly Andrew Wiggins.
A search of what little information exists on Terrell's college hoops recruitment reveals that Terrell attends Providence High School in Jacksonville, is a member of the class of 2014, and has received a handful of offers from low-level, mostly local Division 1 programs -- Appalachian State, Florida Atlantic, North Florida, and Jacksonville. There is but one piece of Internet data available about Terrell that would catch your eye. It's this:
That's Terrell, all six feet, two inches of him, hammering home one of the nastiest dunks you will ever see. It was good enough to earn Terrell some solid buzz when it first hit the Web a few weeks ago, but mostly under the guise of "YouTube sensation," not "underrated recruit worth watching."
It's a perfect fit. When FGCU went on its barnstorming March Madness run this spring, it won America over not just by upsetting Georgetown and San Diego State but by running them off the floor like the Washington Generals; every other play felt like it was going to end with a no-look alley-oop, and oftentimes it did. FGCU's roster came out of nowhere, comprised of mostly overlooked guys whose discrete individual skills -- passing, speed, jumping out of the gym -- melded in the perfect way at the perfect time. The surprise was thrilling, sure, but not half as much as the basketball. Dunk City was born.
With coach Andy Enfield newly installed at USC, and former Kansas assistant Joe Dooley hired to replace him, the biggest question going forward is whether FGCU, having tasted the spotlight, can sustain the exposure and momentum in coming seasons. It won't be easy, but as long as the Eagles keep finding freaky athletes like Terrell, Dunk City will at the very least live up to its name.
(Speaking of which, if you're a school like FGCU -- or any other small, young, unestablished program -- isn't "finding incredibly entertaining athletes and letting them run and dunk" a viable long-term strategy? I'm not saying you can take down Georgetown in the tournament every year, or that you'll necessarily be good. But if you could go viral on a weekly basis, isn't that better than the alternative? Is there a market inefficiency to exploit here? Hmm.)