November 15, 2011
It's rare for a player to attempt an off-the-glass slam in a game setting rather than a dunk contest, but San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin pulled it off twice during Saturday's 70-37 rout of Southern Utah.
First Franklin leaked out in transition ahead of the defense, took a feed from teammate LaBradford Franklin and lobbed the ball off the backboard to himself for a two-handed slam. Later, guard Chase Tapley made an unselfish albeit risky play on a fast break, passing up an uncontested layup to make a backboard pass to Franklin for another crowd-pleasing two-handed slam.
The Southern Utah game marked Franklin's return from a brief suspension after a DUI arrest in September. The sophomore guard has buoyed hopes that this will be a breakout season for him so far, following up a 13-point effort against Southern Utah by blitzing UC Davis for 31 points on Sunday afternoon.
If Franklin can continue to shoot well from the perimeter against Baylor's 2-3 zone in Waco on Tuesday, it would be a huge boost to San Diego State's upset hopes. Franklin's shot was a liability when he arrived on campus last year, but he has made great strides, shooting 5 of 10 from 3-point range in two games so far this season.
"Jamaal had a very unorthodox-looking jump shot to put it kindly when he got here," San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said in September. "He worked so hard to change everything about how he shot the ball. To see him turn into a very good catch-and-shoot player, that told us that here's a guy who can be special. He's going to play so hard all the time, but it's stepping up and making perimeter shots that was hard for him when he came in."
Previous Dunk of the Year nominees: