Campus Corner

KU’s Bill Self picks the best dunker he’s coached

Updated: 2014-02-07T23:12:07Z


The Kansas City Star

— This week, former Kansas guard Ben McLemore was selected to take part in the NBA Dunk contest Feb. 15 during the NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans. McLemore, who left KU last year after his redshirt freshman season, will be the first former Jayhawk to take part in the annual dunk show.

So on Friday, KU coach Bill Self was asked a simple question: Who is the best dunker you’ve ever coached? Self mulled it over for a moment, taking his time.

“I think (Andrew Wiggins) could be if he wanted to be,” Self said. “I'm not sure it interests him that much. It actually takes energy to do that.

“But I would say Ben probably.”

Self has had his fair share of athletes during his 11 seasons at Kansas. Elijah Johnson could once do this, and Thomas Robinson was a solid power dunker, and Brandon Rush was always fun to watch in transition.

But McLemore, Self says, enjoyed being athletic more than any other player he’s coached.

“Elijah when he first got here was off the charts,” Self said. “He lost some of his hop after he’d been here for a while, after we rode him hard for four years. I'm trying to think who else. J.R. Giddens was a good dunker. J.R. could fly.

I don't know, I would say those guys would probably be the best.

“But Ben, to me, liked to show off how athletic he was more than anybody we've ever had here.”

“He'll do something funky in the dunk (contest),” Self continued. “He may not win it, but he’ll do something funky that I guarantee it will definitely put him in contention, I’ll bet.”

To reach Rustin Dodd, call 816-234-4937 or send email to Follow him at

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