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Meet the amateur Shaq, prep hoops’ best dunker?

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

The professional Shaq has retired. Long live the amateur Shaq.

If that statement doesn't make any sense to you, don't worry, you're not alone. The prep basketball Shaq -- a rising senior at Milton (Ga.) High named Shaquille Johnson -- has gone shockingly under the radar when it comes to national recognition. While the Auburn commitment hasn't had quite enough outside game (or quite enough height) to arrest the interest of the cream of the college basketball crop, there is one thing he does better than anyone else in the country.

The kid can dunk.

In fact, Johnson may be as impressive a high school dunker as you ever see. The nearly all-dunks highlight reel you see above shows that Johnson has both intense athletic ability and a knack for showmanship in his slams. As if to prove that point, Johnson dunked on a whopping 22 different defenders in the highlight reel above. Needless to say, he tends to pull off slams that others hold for dunk contests in regular summer tournament games.

Those signature slams tend to involve a level of elevation that many NBA stars, let alone Johnson's prep compatriots, just can't reach. On many of his dunks, Johnson appears to be so high that he can physically look down on the rim, as if he was a bird.

The best example of that ability to elevate to freakish levels might come from this video, where you can clearly see Johnson's eyes above the rim when the clip is slowed down on its second run through.

Perhaps most tellingly, as with any cult figure, Shaq Johnson already has a pair of slams which are woven out of legend. The first came in July 2010 when Johnson actually broke a rim on a slam in a Florida AAU tournament. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, Johnson brought in a pass just outside the center circle, then elevated to throw down a Tomahawk jam directly over a defender.

By the time he came down, the then-sophomore had snapped the back of the rim in two pieces. You can see that clip directly above, with Johnson's rim-snapping action coming on an assist from fellow Class of 2012 recruit Tyler Lewis.

The next signature dunk on Johnson's resume came some five months later, when Johnson was competing at the 2010 City of Palms Dunk Contest with a number of the country's best dunkers. To prove his ability to get vertical, Johnson grabbed one of the taller players in the room -- North Carolina-bound star James McAdoo -- and leaped completely over him, throwing down a slam without grazing a single hair on his head.

Are those slams -- as well as Shaq Johnson's well-earned reputation for getting higher than anyone else -- enough to brand him as the best high school dunker in the nation? To Prep Rally they are, but perhaps you disagree. If so, please let us know below, on Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else you look. After all, this is hardly an open-and-shut discussion.

And no matter who others nominate for this little high school dunk crown, we can all agree on this: It's hard to imagine anyone could have a more fitting given name.

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