Big Ten's best dunkers: One guy's top 5

This post got me thinking about the Big Ten’s top dunkers. There’s a bunch of them, and they’ve kept me busy this season on our Big Ten Dunk Archive. But who are the best of the best? I’ve come up with my top 5, plus honorable mention list, in this post. Let’s hear from you, too, though. There’s a poll included inside and feel free to send your nomination in the comment box.

1. Rodney Williams, Minnesota – In the open court, on alley-oops or with putback slams, Williams is the Big Ten’s most exciting and diverse dunker. Any time he’s near the rim, he almost makes you hold your breath.

360, you say? OK.

Here’s our “Big Ten’s Best” Dunkers feature on Williams.

2. Sam Thompson, Ohio State – With the dunks Thompson’s given us in his first year and a half as a Buckeye, experience is the only think keeping this nightly highlight-reel from the top of the list.

No one’s better than Thompson off the inbound pass:

But he’s pretty good in the open court, too:

3. Victor Oladipo, Indiana – From the standpoint of creating dunks off the dribble and challenging defenders, the fleet-footed and quick-leaping Oladipo is as good as it gets in the Big Ten.

Example No. 1, last year against No. 1 Kentucky:

And example No. 2:

4. Branden Dawson, Michigan State – Dawson brings size and athleticism to the rim every time he pokes, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch. Had it not been for last year’s knee injury, he’d have more highlights.

On the break…

And taking it to the rim…

5. Joseph Bertrand, Illinois – Bertrand doesn’t have nearly as think of a catalog as the guys ahead of him on this list. Still,  he’s one of the Big Ten’s most underrated athletes and high-flyers.

How about this putback?

Or this reverse alley-oop?

Honorable mention: Brandon Paul, Illinois; Will Sheehey, Indiana; Eric May, Iowa; Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan; Glenn Robinson III, Michigan; Wally Ellenson, Minnesota; Jacob Lawson, Purdue.

Now that you’ve seen my candidates, let’s hear your No. 1.

About Brent Yarina web editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (8 Comments)
Ronald Langevin on 1/8/2013 @ 6:53pm EDT Said:

Rodneys got it over all the pretenders,

Buckeye218 on 1/8/2013 @ 8:16pm EDT Said:

Sam Thompson just hangs in the air at the top of his jump as though the law of gravity is temporarily suspended, but only for him.

Greg Enoch on 1/8/2013 @ 8:48pm EDT Said:

Victor is a head above the field….he is the fastest up and the highest!!

Jason on 1/8/2013 @ 11:41pm EDT Said:

How is Rodney not the leader? Has no one watched him for four years? Have you seen how far away he jumps from? The height he gets? I’m astonished he isn’t the leader.

B1Gfan on 1/9/2013 @ 12:17pm EDT Said:

HAHA um… Rodney is one of the best B1G dunkers of all time!

Will Francis Hart on 1/9/2013 @ 2:50pm EDT Said:

My vote is for Joe B. Although I am surprised he is leading. Those arent even close to two of his best dunks. I am surprised they picked those two to use. Bertrand gets up higher than all the rest, he is the shortest one I think. Williams throws it down though too for sure.

Bill Giswold on 1/9/2013 @ 3:31pm EDT Said:

how could you leave Jerad Bergren off the list Even your announcers said his dunk agaiinst Penn State was the best of the year

    Brent Yarina, on 1/9/2013 @ 3:33pm EDT Said:

    Bill – That was Tim Doyle’s opinion, and this post is my opinion. When I think great dunkers, I don’t think Berggren – or even Cody Zeller or Aaron White – even though he dunks a lot. Again, just my opinion. That said, yes, Berggren’s dunk was very nice.