Donovan Mitchell only stands 6-foot-3, but make no mistake: He might be the filthiest dunker in the NBA.
The Utah Jazz rookie guard showed off his explosive abilities Friday night during the first quarter of the NBA Rising Stars Challenge, which Mitchell’s Team USA squad lost 155-124 to Team World. After stealing an errant pass from Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, Mitchell took off, threw an alley-oop off the backboard to himself and finished with a huge one-handed dunk.
Check out this play, and some of Mitchell’s other highlights from the Rising Stars game:
And here’s another look at that crazy first dunk:
That Instagram post came from Josh Lee, a physical therapist and one of Mitchell’s assistant coaches during his playing days at Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H.
The prep school, which is situated on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, is known for having one of the best basketball programs in the country. But even among Brewster’s impressive alumni, Mitchell’s career stands out: His teams went a combined 67-3, and he won back-to-back New England Preparatory School Athletic Council and National Prep championships in 2014 and 2015. Mitchell also was an academic standout, as he was a student body prefect his senior year.
The 21-year-old’s powerful dunking prowess has many, including Lee, looking forward to his turn in Saturday’s NBA Dunk Contest.
“I expect a combination of explosiveness and power,” Lee told NESN.com on Saturday. “He will have fun with it.”
So, where does Mitchell rank among some of Brewster’s most famous dunkers, including NBA veterans Will Barton and Thomas Robinson?
“I’d put him right up there,” Lee said. “I actually think his in-game dunks are his most impressive.”
Mitchell’s dunking understandably garners the attention. But his all-around game, including a jump shot vastly improved from his days at Louisville, has thrust him into the conversation for the NBA Rookie of the Year award.
And with per-game averages of 19.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals, it’s not hard to see why.
Thumbnail photo via Chris Nicoll/USA TODAY Sports Images
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