The COVID-19 quarantine has limited my entertainment options to 1) re-binging “Breaking Bad” for the sixth time, 2) getting misty-eyed to Steely Dan’s “Aja” while housing eight slices of Papa John’s, or 3) making lists. As a full-time hoops junkie, I really had no choice but to give you this one: the top 10 players to appear at Slam Dunk to the Beach since its rebirth in 2014.
1. 6-9 forward Jonathan Kuminga, Our Savior New American (N.Y.), 2018 - As a sophomore in 2018, Kuminga delivered the most jaw-dropping single-game performance in Slam history, scoring 40 points and knocking down eight three-pointers in a narrow loss to nationally ranked Gonzaga (D.C.). The versatile forward averaged an effortless 33 points and 13 rebounds over two games, wowing fans and scouts with his rare combination of skill and athleticism. Now playing at The Patrick School (N.J.), Kuminga is a projected top-three pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
2. 6-8 guard Cam Reddish, Westtown (Pa.), 2014-17 - “Killa Cam” may be the poster boy of Slam Dunk’s new era, as he’s one of only two players to participate in four tourneys. The silky-smooth wing hit the ground running as a freshman in 2014, averaging 18 points in two games for the Moose. Over the next two years, Reddish put up 16 points per night at the Slam while playing for some loaded Westtown teams. He went out with a bang in 2017, averaging a tourney-high 28 points per night on the strength of his long-range shooting. A top-five recruit nationally, Reddish moved on to Duke, where he contributed 14 points and four boards per game in 2018-19 despite being overshadowed at times by fellow freshmen Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett. Taken 10th overall by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2019 NBA Draft, Reddish struggled early in his rookie season before catching fire down the stretch. He averaged 11 points and four boards before COVID cut his season short.
3. 6-11 center Luka Garza, Maret (D.C.), 2015 - This walking double-double recorded a pair of 32-point games as a junior in 2015. Garza displayed impeccable footwork on the block, rebounded everything in his ZIP code, and showed off a deceptively good outside touch. He made a seamless transition to the college game, cracking Iowa’s starting lineup as a freshman. Garza was a finalist for both the Naismith and Wooden awards in 2019-20, averaging 24 points and 10 boards per night, and setting a single-season Hawkeye record with 740 points. He recently declared for the NBA Draft but is likely to return to Iowa for his senior year.
4. 7-0 center Mo Bamba, Westtown (Pa.), 2016 - This baby-faced behemoth came to the 2016 Slam absolutely lathered in hype thanks to his 7-foot-10 wingspan, and he more than lived up to it. Bamba averaged 21 points, 13 rebounds, and five blocks over two games, owning the paint with his length and dunking on all comers. His buzzer-beating lay-in gave the Moose a 70-68 win over Gray Collegiate (S.C.) in a game that featured 20 dunks and was called “the most exciting game of the year” by hoops gurus Ball Is Life. Bamba finished that game with 27 points on 12-for-12 shooting. Mo played a year of college ball at Texas, where he averaged a double-double and cemented himself as an NBA lottery pick. Drafted sixth overall by the Orlando Magic in 2018, Bamba has averaged six points and five boards over two seasons.
5. 6-4 guard Donte DiVincenzo, Salesianum (Del.), 2014 - This bouncy redhead carried an undermanned Sallies team through three games against national-level competition, putting up 20 points per night to earn all-tournament honors. A four-star recruit nationally, DiVincenzo went on to star at Villanova, where he won two national titles under Jay Wright and averaged 10 points over three seasons. After a 31-point outburst in the 2018 national championship game that will live forever in Philly sports lore, Donte’s draft stock skyrocketed. Selected 17th that summer by the Milwaukee Bucks, DiVincenzo has averaged eight points in his two years with what may be the NBA’s most talented team.
6. 6-3 guard Collin Gillespie, Archbishop Wood (Pa.), 2016 - The Slam served as a coming-out party of sorts for this hard-nosed combo guard. Regarded as a fringe high-major prospect before the tourney, Gillespie got the bluebloods’ attention with a standout Slam showing. He went off for 20 points, eight boards, and five assists per game in runaway victories over Roselle Catholic (N.J.) and Sanford (Del.), getting to the hole at will and directing the tourney’s most efficient offense. Collin has spent the last three seasons at Villanova, where he won a national title with DiVincenzo in 2018 and was an all-conference selection as a junior in 2019-20. Gillespie will run the point for a ‘Nova team that could cut down the nets again next season.
7. 6-3 guard Jalek Felton, Gray Collegiate (S.C.), 2016 - Felton tied a Slam record with 39 points in a last-second loss to Bamba’s Westtown squad, lighting up the Big House with seven three-pointers. Regarded as one of the most electric scorers in his class, Raymond Felton’s nephew was expected to make a splash the following year at North Carolina. He underwhelmed as a freshman, contributing three points a night and seeing his minutes gradually diminish. Felton left the Tar Heels in January 2018 after being suspended from the team for an undisclosed violation. He has bounced around various pro leagues since, most recently spending time in Slovenia and Mexico.
8. 6-5 guard Rawle Alkins, Christ The King (N.Y.), 2014 - This bowling ball of a two-guard averaged 21 points and 12 rebounds over three games, including an 18-point, 18-board showing in a win over Gonzaga (D.C.), the nation’s fifth-ranked team. The following day, the junior provided the highlight of the tourney with a wicked one-handed stuff over a Sunrise Christian (Kan.) defender. The big-bodied, physical guard went on to make an instant impact at Arizona, where he started from day one and put up 12 points and five rebounds per night over two seasons. Alkins left Tucson after his sophomore year and signed with the Chicago Bulls, where he averaged four points in 10 games in 2018-19. He now plays with FC Porto in Portugal.
9. 6-5 guard Keith Williams, Bishop Loughlin (N.Y.), 2016 - Williams arrived at the 2016 Slam a bit under the radar, as most fans were hyped about Bamba, Reddish, and other blue chips. Two games later, the crafty Brooklyn two-guard left as the tourney’s leading scorer. Williams poured in 26 points in the Lions’ win over Baltimore Poly (Md.), then went for 32 points and four three-pointers in a come-from-behind victory over Paul VI (Va.). The four-star prospect signed with Cincinnati and has carved out a solid career as a Bearcat, averaging 13 points and five rebounds as a junior in 2019-20.
10. 6-2 guard Mikey Dixon, Sanford (Del.), 2015 - This diminutive point guard came within a few possessions of shocking the basketball world in 2015, when he scored 25 points and corralled 10 boards in the Warriors’ overtime loss to third-ranked La Lumiere (Ind.). Up against a squad that featured two seven-footers and at least seven Division I prospects, the New Castle native was the best player on the floor. Dixon was named the MAAC Freshman of the Year at Quinnipiac in 2016-17, averaging 17 points per game. Mikey transferred to St. John’s and got major minutes with the Red Storm, but he left the program early in 2019 and landed at Grand Canyon. He put up 12 points per night in 2019-20, knocking down 43 percent of his three-point tries.
Precious Achiuwa, St. Benedict’s (N.J.)
Saddiq Bey, Sidwell Friends (D.C.)
Isaiah Briscoe, Roselle Catholic (N.J.)
Jalen Carey, Immaculate Conception (N.J.)
Jake Forrester, Westtown (Pa.)
Juwan Gary, Gray Collegiate (S.C.)
Jason Gibson, Sidwell Friends (D.C.)
Chris Lykes, Gonzaga (D.C.)
Cliff Omoruyi, Roselle Catholic (N.J.)
Naz Reid, Roselle Catholic (N.J.)
Jeremy Roach, Paul VI (Va.)