Readers, fans and coaches helped AJC.com select the top 10 dunkers in Georgia High School Association history. The list is compiled by the years they played.
Herb White, Decatur, 6-foot-2 (1966)
White was named twice as often as any other player after AJC.com asked readers, coaches and fans to nominate players for the best high school dunkers in GHSA history. White played college ball at Georgia, then for the Hawks. As for Wilt Chamberlain’s famous quote to the Los Angeles Times — that White was the best dunker he had ever seen — White said, “I may have that put on my tombstone.’’
Kenny Walker, Crawford County, 6-8 (1982)
The NBA’s slam-dunk champion in 1989, “Sky” Walker famously leaped over two R.E. Lee players in the lane for a dunk in Thomaston while leading his team to a second consecutive state title in 1982. He was an All-American at Kentucky.
Chris Morris, Douglass, 6-8 (1984)
Morris was one of the first masters of the running alley-oop slam. “I remember playing a 2-3 zone against him, and their point guard just threw it up,’’ retired Marietta coach Charlie Hood said. “I thought, ‘What are they doing?’ Chris came around behind everybody and caught it above the rim. Now that was a great dunk.’’
Darrin Hancock, Griffin, 6-6 (1990)
Hancock was Georgia’s most heavily recruited player in years, and he capped his high school career by becoming the first of three Georgia players to win the slam-dunk contest at the prestigious McDonald’s All-Star game. The others were Carlos Strong of Cedar Shoals in 1992 and Donnell Harvey of Randolph-Clay in 1999.
Jeff Sheppard, McIntosh, 6-3 (1993)
Sheppard was a Georgia state champion in the high jump in high school, clearing 7 feet. At a pep rally, Sheppard dunked over two of his McIntosh classmates from just inside the free-throw line. At Kentucky, he was named Most Outstanding Player of the 1998 NCAA Final Four.
Isma’il Muhammad, W.D. Mohammed, 6-6 (2001)
Muhammad helped put a small private Muslim high school on the map in Georgia with his dunking and all-around prowess. While at Georgia Tech, Muhammad was rated the No. 1 dunker in college basketball by ESPN the Magazine.
Josh Smith, McEachern, 6-9 (2002)
Playing only through his junior year in Georgia, the flying left-hander Smith still was one of the state’s best-ever risers before transferring to Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. Within three years of his last high school game in Georgia, and still a teenager, Smith won the NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest.
Travis Leslie, Columbia, 6-4 (2008)
Nicknamed “T-Bird,’’ the swift Leslie beat out Derrick Favors of South Atlanta as the winner of the 2008 AJC.com Slam Dunk Contest with a between-the-legs dunk. He went on to become an ESPN highlight fixture at Georgia, where he was an all-SEC performer.
DeQuan Jones, Wheeler, 6-8 (2008)
Wheeler has won five state titles in 20 years and graduated a slew of leaping showmen, from Shareef Abdur-Rahim to J.J. Hickson, but the best Wildcats dunker probably was Jones. YouTube savored one of his high school classics from Raleigh, where Jones slammed home a dunk up and over Word of God Christian’s John Wall, now of the NBA’s Wizards.
Shaquille Johnson, Milton, 6-5 (2012)
A thunderous dunker with a 40-inch standing vertical, Johnson won high school dunk contests from coast to coast, and it was not uncommon for him to have five or more dunks in a game. They were intimidating game-changers in Milton’s back-to-back state titles in 2011 and 2012.
Also considered: Brandon Boykin, Fayette County; Antwuan Dixon, Wheeler; Percy Eberhart, Clarke Central; Terry Fair, Southwest-Macon; James Forrest, Southside; Donnell Harvey, Randolph-Clay; Oscar Harvey, Mitchell-Baker; Raymond Higgs, Athens Christian; Stephen Hill, Miller Grove; Senario Hillman, Wilkinson County; Dwight Howard, Southwest Atlanta Christian; Mark McSwain, St. Pius; Carlos Strong, Clarke Central; Marcus Thornton, Westlake; Greg Tinch, Westover; Joe Ward, Griffin; Louis Williams, South Gwinnett; Dontonio Wingfield, Westover; Tony Woods, East Rome.