Doctors of Dunk

Terrence Jennings and Jared Swopshire put on a show Saturday night in the slam dunk finals of the Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic. The future Louisville stars needed extra dunks to decide the champion in an instant slam dunk classic.

Terrence Jennings and Jared Swopshire put on a show Saturday night in the slam dunk finals of the Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic. The future Louisville stars needed extra dunks to decide the champion in an instant slam dunk classic.

With a long white towel draped around his neck like a cape, Jennings ran the length of the court before taking off just inside the free throw lane to hammer home his first dunk in the finals – a slam the judges awarded a 26 out of 30.

Swophire, wearing a red Louisville jersey, posted a 27 on his first dunk to take a one point lead on Jennings heading into the second dunk attempt.

On his second attempt, Jennings came up with an electrifying dunk that was the highlight of the contest – a between the legs slam that resulted in perfect 10's across the board.


Terrence Jennings

"I looked over at Earl (Clark) and asked him what I should do and he told me to go through the legs and I did it for my man," Jennings said. "I had a lot of fun."

Needing a perfect 30 on his final attempt to win the slam dunk title, Swopshire came up just short with a dunk the three judge panel gave a 29. That meant Jennings and Swopshire were tied at 56. So an overtime dunk period was needed to find a winner.

Both players netted perfect 30's on their first dunk of the extra period before Jennings prevailed28-27 on the final attempt.

"It was exciting. I didn't expect it to go as long as it did but it was a fan pleaser," said Jennings. "We played hard and it was a great dunk contest and they said it was probably the best that was ever here. I just came out and tried to be as creative as I can and everything clicked for me tonight. I had a great time out here."

"It was just me and Terrence," Swopshire said. "We just tried to show the crowd the dunks we could do and it was a good dunk contest. We kept it in Louisville. That's all that matters."

Swopshire had an off-shooting night, making only 2 of 9 shots, including 1 of 4 three's. The 6'7 forward finished with 7 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals.

"I think I played pretty good," said Swop. "We started off pretty slow as a team but we picked it up in the second half. The other team they just pulled it out."

Swopshire and Jennings' Gold team fell to the Black 128-121. Matching up with 6-9 Ater Majok for much of the night, Jennings turned in an excellent effort. He finished with 10 points and 8 rebounds (6 offensive). Jennings also blocked two shots and made two steals.

"I enjoyed going against him," Jennings said of Majok, who is considering UConn and Kentucky, among others. "He's a great player and he gave me a challenge. We're both developing as big men and I look forward to seeing him wherever he decides to go."


Jared Swopshire

On one particular steal Jennings showed off his ball handling skills going coast to coast for a monster slam in traffic.

"I was thinking pass but sometimes you've got to react," Jennings said. "I had a little bit of T-Will in me on that one. I tried to attack the (rim) as hard as I could."

While their team lost the game the purpose for the weekend was to enjoy the event and have fun.

"I really enjoyed all the support from the fans and my family coming in and even some of the Louisville players," Swopshire said. "It was a great experience."

"It's been a great experience," Jennings added. "I bonded with a lot of the players and got to know a lot of people I never got to be around. We were treated well and the fans showed respect. We made a lot of lifelong friendships out here."

Now, with their high school careers behind them, Jennings and Swopshire are anticipating helping the Cardinals to big things next year.

"I expect we're going to win the championship next year," Jennings said. "Me and Samardo and Swop we're just going to come in and try to produce and go all the way."


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