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Stackhouse reverses against Duke in 1995 matchup: I was a Milwaukee kid, so I really didn’t have a right to get caught up in the Duke-North Carolina rivalry, but that’s exactly what happened. Dollar bets the day before a Duke-North Carolina game were the norm in high school. There have been a lot of great moments in the series. But former UNC star Jerry Stackhouse’s reverse dunk in a 1995 matchup against the Blue Devils was arguably the greatest dunk in the history of the rivalry. Stackhouse beat 6-11 forward/center Cherokee Parks off the dribble on a fast break. So 6-10 center Erik Meek came down to help. And Stackhouse ultimately posterized both big men. Then he put on the “mean face” and walked away. Beautiful.
Darvin Ham destroys a rim against North Carolina: In 1996, I was sitting in my living room when CBS replayed a highlight from an NCAA second-round matchup between Texas Tech and North Carolina. That’s when I discovered Darvin Ham. He shattered this particular backboard off a miss in a win over UNC that propelled the Red Raiders into the Sweet 16. He added to the theatrics by doing the only thing that a person should do after they’ve just crushed a rim: He walked away. Great statement. Nothing to say. Just let the people admire your craftsmanship. You also have to appreciate the first-degree assault that’s always committed by at least one teammate after a high-level finish. Texas Tech’s Jason Sasser wrapped Ham in a bear hug that nearly turned into a rear-naked choke. Ham became a star that night. He even made the cover of Sports Illustrated. When he joined the Milwaukee Bucks, I was his biggest fan.
DeQuan Jones vs. North Carolina in 2009: Jones was a 6-8 forward who had freakish hops. He didn’t have a stellar career at Miami, averaging 5.9 ppg and 3.6 rpg. But he racked up highlights in his four-year career. Many involved dunks. In 2009, the Hurricanes faced the Tar Heels in a typical ACC matchup. But his big dunk 10 minutes into the game was extraordinary. Jones took the ball from the right side of the rim as three Carolina defenders turned to contest the shot. But Jones twisted his body, came under the rim and reversed on the other side. It was a crazy acrobatic sequence. Jones completed a “slam dunk contest” dunk in the middle of a real game.
Vince Carter embarrasses Clemson: Carter was the first athlete that made me reconsider the morality of dunking. I just questioned if a man should be allowed to shame another individual the way Vince Carter did throughout his college career. During the 1996 ACC tournament, he caught a lob on the in-bounds and proceeded to dunk over the entire city of Clemson, S.C. It seemed like everyone on the roster tried to stop Carter but ultimately became victims. Plus, he jumped from the midway point between the free throw line and the hoop. So you could see it coming. But you couldn’t do anything about it.
James Michael McAdoo (North Carolina) -- The Tar Heels lost a lot of talent to the NBA this offseason, but McAdoo returned and should be a star. With Tyler Zeller and John Henson in front of him, McAdoo logged 15.6 minutes per game last season. But the 6-9 spectacle showed flashes of his above-the-rim potential throughout the campaign.