Louisville freshman Donovan Mitchell caught a one-handed putback dunk that

It's likely the play of the year so far for the University of Louisville basketball team, Donovan Mitchell's one-handed putback slam in a blowout win over Florida State. Mitchell wowed the crowd and then the dunk was the talk of the locker room after the game.

The first game Rick Pitino ever watched Donovan Mitchell - on July 24, 2014 in an AAU game in Atlanta, Ga., the high-flying prospect caught a one-handed slam dunk that even had the Hall of Fame coach in awe.

"My mouth stood open, the whole gym stood up and went crazy," Pitino recalled. "I said to Kenny (Johnson), I think we gotta get that kid."

On Wednesday night, Mitchell showed off that athleticism in a game against Florida State with a one-handed putback slam that had everybody in the KFC Yum Center on their feet and all of social media a buzz.

"It was pretty special, all of a sudden he came out of nowhere," Pitino said. "Now I have seen him do it before but that was a pretty darn good one, it was explosive. When he jumps off two feet, my God, he can get up."

And for Mitchell, the freshman couldn't stop smiling.

"I've been waiting for that one for a long, long time," Mitchell said. "I'm going to talk about that one for a long time. (Malik) Beasley is a friend of mine, that's who I dunked on. I think I'm going to let him know about that one.

"I don't know if it was my best (dunk), but it's up there."

The reaction of his teammates was priceless:

Said Damion Lee: "Did you see me? I just stood there with my mouth open. It was unreal."

Quentin Snider said: "Wow, he just ripped it away from him and cocked it back."

Jaylen Johnson added: "I was just like, 'Wow, did he just do that?' That was pretty good."

It happened with 6:27 left in the first half of an 84-65 win for the Cardinals. U of L had three players on the sidelines with two fouls, but Mitchell - who started the game - gave the Cardinals a spark.

Lee took a three-pointer from the left wing that missed. Mitchell, who was standing outside of the three-point line when Lee took the shot, darted towards the basket. Beasley appeared to have the rebound when Mitchell ripped it away from him.

Mitchell took it away from him, cocked it back with his right hand and dunked it.

"Hey Donovan," Lee said in the locker room. "Remember when I told you I was going to miss that shot so you could get the putback. It wouldn't have happened without that, but it's definately something for SportsCenter."

Louisville led 22-15 at that point and ended up taking a 41-27 lead at halftime.

"It was a game changer," Trey Lewis said. "I was like, 'Wow'."

Mitchell joked that he should have gotten a rebound or a steal along with the basket, noting "or maybe all three" and he said in the locker room that he hadn't seen a replay of it - yet.

"I'm going to watch it a lot," Mitchell said. "I was just praying for a miss. Usually I don’t pray for a miss, but I prayed for one that time."


Cardinal Authority Top Stories