February 17, 2011
It could have easily been called a charge.
The Vols' 6-foot-7 junior scored a game-high 23 points, including a wicked throwdown over Gamecocks freshman guard Brian Richardson, who took what looked like a knee to the face in the process.
Hopson's knee actually caught a piece of the 6-foot-4 Richardson's chin, but the play fueled Tennessee (16-10 overall, 6-5 SEC) in the first game back on the sidelines at Thompson-Boling Arena for coach Bruce Pearl. His first two games back from an eight-game SEC suspension were ugly road losses at Kentucky and Florida.
The win snapped a three-game skid for Tennessee, which with a nice run to close out the season could get off the NCAA tournament bubble, given its handful of impressive nonconference victories.
As for the debate over whether a foul should have been called, let's be real: Who would really expect to get called for a charge on a dunk like that at home?
You've got to give the South Carolina frosh some credit, because he couldn't have done much more to try and get the whistle.
Hopson completely clearing Richardson is about the only thing that could have made this highlight any better. This photo indicates that if he'd spread out some, it was absolutely possible.
Still, it was nothing short of filthy.
Previous Dunk of the Year nominees: