The List: Best Dunks and Fictional Teams

It is the first edition of the soon-to-be-classic Cat Tracks List. This week we have some fun. The Thrill takes a look at the best dunks in school history, while Brad Allis tells you who he thinks are the best fictional sports teams from, television, film and literature. Will you agree with our picks?

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TheThrill's Top five dunks in Arizona history

1.Kenny Lofton's double-pump reverse vs. Oregon in 1988.
--Lofton got the outlet pass from a teammate, used his tremendous speed to break away from the pursuing Ducks, took off in the middle of the lane, spun 180-degrees while pumping the ball down between his feet and then slammed home an emphatic dunk for the two points. It was named one of the best dunks in the nation that year and deservedly so. Did I forget to mention that Lofton is 5-10 on a good day?

2.Richard Jefferson's leap over two UofA students during Midnight Madness in 2000-2001.Richard Jefferson
--The Tucson Citizen should have paid its photographer a couple thousand dollars for the shot he got of RJ on this dunk. In the full-page photo, Jefferson is shown leaning towards the rim at a 45-degree angle with his wrist slamming down on the rim and the ball being flushed through the net with incredible force. Down below, all you see are Jefferson's legs hovering over two frightened students (both at least five and a half feet tall). That kind of athleticism and leaping ability made RJ a crowd favorite both at Arizona and now with the Nets fans in New Jersey.

3.Matt Muehlebach's alley-oop from Matt Othick in 1991.
--Even though Muehlebach stood 6-3, he had never even attempted a dunk in a game during his first three and a half years at Arizona. In fact, and to be honest, the guy sure didn't look like he could even touch the rim. He wasn't very fast and he didn't get a lot of elevation on his jump shot either. What made this dunk so great was the element of surprise (or absolute shock, to be precise). I remember watching the game at home with my brothers and all of the sudden I remember seeing Matt Othick throw up what looked like a very-off-target shot towards the rim. Out of nowhere, Muehlebach flashed into view, grabbed the ball with both hands, cocked it back a little behind his head and then tomahawk two-handed the ball through the rim with his legs spread like he'd done this many times before. The McKale Center crowd exploded into cheers from the shock and jubilation at seeing something they never thought they'd see. Muehlebach, Othick, all of their teammates and even Lute Olson were shown laughing about the dunk immediately afterwards. Unless Josh Pastner comes off the bench in a suit and tie and throws one down sometimes soon, there will never again be a dunk with that kind of surprising element to it in Arizona history.

4.Richard Jefferson's alley-oop from Gilbert Arenas in the Maui Classic in November of 2000.
--Simply put, there was no way a human being should have been able to not only dunk the ball, but even catch it to begin with. Arenas through a pass from beyond half court to the streaking Jefferson and to everyone watching the play develop, it looked like it was destined for the wall beyond the baseline because it was way too high. Apparently Arenas knew that RJ could get up high enough to throw it down. In the next split second, Jefferson's right arm entered the screen (near the top of the backboard) and it showed him catching the ball with his fingertips and slamming the ball through the net with reckless abandon all in the same motion. He landed normally and let out a tremendous scream to match the crowd's euphoric pitch. ESPN has showed that highlight numerous times on college basketball promos over the last two seasons. To me, the amazing part wasn't the dunk, but how he caught it in the first place.

5.Jason Gardner's alley-oop off the bounce to himself in practice before Arizona's 1st round game in 2002.
--If Kenny Lofton is only 5-10, then Jason Gardner is closer to 5-9. From the first day many Arizona fans saw Gardner play, it was obvious that he had tremendous athletic ability. I could see that on some of his rebounds that he jumped high enough to dunk if the opportunity presented itself. And even though he had many, many chances on breakaways or on the fast break, Gardner always chose the one-handed lay-up instead of the dunk. Well, at the conclusion of practice in Albuquerque this past March, some teammates began dunking for the crowd before leaving the court. Mike Schwertley put on a nice show and so did a few others. Wildcat forward Luke Walton began teasing Jason Gardner about not being able to dunk so Gardner made Walton throw him a lob pass so he could attempt a dunk. Walton's pass (amazingly enough) was off the mark and Gardner didn't get a real chance. So Gardner took matters into his own hands by passing the ball to himself off of a high bounce. The ball soared up past the rim, surely it was too high, but in the next moment Gardner grabbed the ball with both hands and rocked the rim with a thunderous two-handed dunk while hanging on the rim for show. There were probably only 50-100 Arizona fans watching that particular practice, so those of us that got to see Gardner's dunk know we saw something very rare. The one thing that I'd say is that he could EASILY dunk more if he wanted to. His vertical leap is at least as high as Jefferson's and even better than teammate Will Bynum, who is considered the best jumper on the team.

Honorable Mention Dunks:
*About 20 more from Richard Jefferson (Windmills vs. Michigan State and Gonzaga; One-hander completely OVER UCLA's Earl Watson while drawing a foul; The double-alley-oop from Arenas to Gardner to Jefferson at Washington State, etc. etc.).
*Reggie Geary's follow-up dunk vs. Arkansas in the 1994 Final Four.
*Many of Bennett Davison's follow-dunks (at Michigan was the most memorable to me).
*Sean Elliott's soaring one-hander down the lane against Oklahoma in the 1988 Final Four.
*Brian Williams' one-handed throw down over 7-6 Sean Bradley in 1991's NCAA 2nd round.
*A.J. Bramlett's glass-shattering dunk in practice prior to winning the 1997 National Championship.
*Elliott's reverse dunk vs. Pitt in the 1989 Fiesta Bowl Classic…graceful and explosive at the same time.
*Will Bynum's alley-oop from Luke Walton at Wazzu this past January.
*Many Michael Dickerson alley-oops from Mike Bibby and some nice ones on his own too.
*Jason Terry's soaring one-hander from the right wing at BYU in 1998-99.
*Khalid Reeves's lefty slam against Michigan's Fab Four in 1993-94 when he scored 40 on 13-14 shooting.
*Gilbert Arenas' two-handed baseline dunk over the Collins twins in a win at No. 1 Stanford in 2001.
*Looking forward to many, many more great dunks from incoming freshmen Hassan Adams and Andre Iguodala as well. And here's hoping that Gardner pulls a Muehlebach and finally puts one down during a game in his final season. If not, it's Anas Fellah time!


These are the best fictional teams based on how good the movie was, how good the idea was and whether or not I'd sport their gear. I left off high school teams because A) there are so many to choose from. B) a lot are real schools and I didn't want to mess that up.

  1. Charlestown Chiefs—The team from "Slap Shot" the greatest hockey movie ever, and Maxim Magazine's greatest "guy" movie of all time. Who can forget Paul Newman as Reggie, Dave "Killer" Carlson, the goalie Dennis Lemeuix, Michael "Twin Peaks" Ontkean as Ned Braden and of course the Hansen Brothers. "Old Time Hockey, eh?"
  2. New York Nights—The team that Robert Redford's Roy Hobbs played for in the "Natural". Classic baseball movie with some unforgettable scenes.
  3. Jack's Carnivores—Best fictional team from a commercial. The post game interview commercial is classic. "No doubt about it, the wild chimpanzees gave 110%." Jack may be the best owner in sports.
  4. Pittsburgh Pisces—Dr. J played for this team in the 70's classic "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh". A goofy movie where a team is assembled based on astrological signs. Former UA great Eric Money has a role.
  5. Adams Atoms—The UA became Adams in "Revenge of the Nerds". I don't know how good the team could have been with Ted McGinley at QB and John Goodman as the head coach.
  6. Dallas Bulls—Okay so it was a thinly veiled look at the Cowboys, but "North Dallas 40" is one heck of a good football book. The movie is good too.
  7. S.C.L.S.U. Mud Dogs—Adam Sandler may not be a great actor, but "The Waterboy" is a funny movie. Who can't root for a team with drunken cheerleaders and a hillbilly as defensive coordinator? The team from Jackson's Bayou, LA. had a great season with Bobby Boucher at linebacker. How that guy never made it in the pros baffles me.
  8. Grand Lakes Hooters—Best diving team in movie history. When Rodney Dangerfield hits the Triple-Lindy I get goosebumps. Plus it has Paulie from "Rocky" and Johnny from "Karate Kid".
  9. Los Angeles Knights—Maybe I can't buy Damon Wayans as an NFL QB, but the Knights had those cool uniforms, with the chess pieces on the helmets. Plus, the movie gave us one of the greatest lines, "head or gut?"
  10. Milwaukee Beers—Okay, "Baseketball" was a terrible movie, but the teams were funny. The Detroit Lemons and the Dallas Felons were among the teams in the league.
  11. Roswell Rayguns—Second best commercial team after the Carnivores. The ads have everything, Bootsy Collins, ABA game footage, funk music and some darn good NBA players.
  12. E.C.U. Timberwolves—"The Program" wasn't very good, but the team had cool uniforms. So what if they were knocking off Florida State just a bit?click to enlarge
  13. Miami Sharks—"On Any Given Sunday" was a bit disappointing, but the sharks were cool in the all black. Jaimie Foxx as Willie Beamon was slightly more believable than Keeanu Reeves as an NFL QB. Was Lawrence Taylor even acting in that movie?
  14. Washington Sentinels—"The Replacements" was another movie that couldn't live up to expectations, even if Gene Hackman was in it. Some of the characters were funny, but any Keeanu Reeves movie is sure to disappoint. How has that guy been able to work with Hackman, Pachino and Morgan Freeman?
  15. Minnesota State Screaming Eagles--"Coach" was a decent show, and Craig T. Nelson is a UA guy. The pro team he went off to coach was forgetable. They were in Orlando, that much I know. Was it me, or did they win a national championship with just three coaches?
  16. I'm saving possibly the best for last—The Bad News Bears. Any team sponsored by Chico's Bail Bonds is all right by me.

Honorable mention:

*The Cutters from "Breaking Away" not really a sports team and I'm not sure if they were real or not.

*Mean Machine, do a prison team from "The Longest Yard" count?

*Texas State Armadillos—Necessary Roughness was just sooooo bad. Any movie with Jason Bateman AND Sinbad is doomed to fail.

*Bayside Tigers--I'm a closet fan of "Saved By The Bell", so I had to put at leas one high school team on the list.

*Carver High--Can't leave off the "White Shadow".

Disagree with us. The Thrill can be reached at and Brad can be reached at

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