The highlight of tonight’s Mountaineer Madness — presented by Full Throttle! — is certainly the dunk contest. Really everyone is excited, so much so that following the women’s team’s workout yesterday, Yinka Sanni and Lateefah Joye were trying a few things out. Sanni was actually close a few times and had everything but the actual dunk once. Joye wasn’t as close, but was still up there.
Might they enter?
“Not after what I just saw,” Coach Mike Carey said. “I thought maybe Yinka might. I’ve seen Yinka dunk one time and I told her if she wanted to get in, go ahead. But after what I just saw?”
It appears the men’s team will own the spotlight. Seven anonymous voters were asked to predictÂ tonight’s winner and their votingÂ produced an interesting result.
Joe Alexander had two votes, and it’s easy to understand why, as did equally acrobatic Wellington Smith. The final person polled could have broken the tie, but decided to split a vote with Smith and Alexander.
The final two votes? Well, they did not go to Alex Ruoff.
“I don’t even know if they’d let me in. I can slap the backboard, but I don’t know what type of a reaction that would get.”
Turns out the other two votes went to Darris Nichols!
“I can dunk,” he said.
For the record, Nichols says he’s dunked just once while playing for WVU — and that was in his first exhibition game back in 2004.
“It counts,” he said.
To be fair, Nichols can jump and you’ll remember his baseline block-against-the-backboard against Wake Forest’s Eric Williams in the 2005 NCAA Tournament as proof. He’s also been seen doing impressive dunks following many practices in the past. He can explain why he hasn’t dunked in the 106 games that have followed his debut.
“I’m too old.”
So the word about Nichols’ candidacy went around to some people and some voters and one person gave Nichols a ringing endorsement.
“I’ve seen Darris dunk and I heard he has something planned, so we’ll have to see what he’s got up his sleeve.”