First of all, the 6-foot-9 forward is averaging a mere 2.1 points and 3.8 boards a game for the injury-ravaged Hoosiers. And second, the earthbound Pritchard doesn't exactly have Blake Griffin-athleticism, to put it mildly.
Perhaps the unlikeliness of the moment is what made the emphatic put-back slam invoke such a huge reaction from the Indiana crowd and Big Ten network announcers and earn a spot on SportsCenter's top plays segment. As Verdell Jones' errant first-half 3-pointer clanged off the rim, Pritchard approached the glass from the free-throw line, leapt towards the goal, grabbed the ball in mid-air and dunked over a helpless 6-foot-11 Ralph Sampson III.
The dunk sparked Pritchard to easily his most productive game of the season.
Playing 30 minutes in part as a result of an injury that has sidelined Christian Watford, Pritchard scored a season-high 12 points on 5-for-5 shooting and also grabbed seven rebounds. Not bad for a guy who had been playing solid defense but hadn't scored more than eight points all season.
Previous Dunk of the Year nominees:
- Tom Pritchard