A St. John’s University football player proved that football isn’t his only skill as he won the first annual Slam-Dunk Contest held last Thursday in the Residential Village.
According to freshman, LeyonnePryce, basketball isn’t even a sport that he plays frequently. He didn’t take the time to practice his moves ahead of time, but, instead, showed up after an already-rigorous work-out. “I came straight from football practice,” Pryce said.
To win, the six-foot-two outside linebacker had to out-dunk 16 other contestants who took part in the three-round competeition that was judged by a five-member Student Programming Board panel. Dunkers were eliminated after each round.
After the three rounds of dunking were finished, Pryce was named the winner and given his prize package of SJU athletic gear, including gym shorts and t-shirts. But according to Pryce that announcement was no surprise. “I had a feeling I was going to win because I used to win things like that in high school,” he said.
Pryce, a freshman, competed in the Student Programming Board sponsored event after reading about the event on a flyer and getting some encouragement from his teammates on the football team. “Somebody put a flyer under my door, so I just did it,” said Pryce.
Contestants weren’t the only people to show up to the Slam Dunk Contest. Students surrounded the basketball hoops that were set up outside of Mongoris Dinning Hall to see who would win.
“We were hoping for a good turnout. We knew we had publicized quite extensively, but you are always anxious about crowds,” said David Graziano, co-vice president of the Student Programming Board. “This year the student body is supporting student programs like no other year. We are excited and hope to see this type of turn out at all our events.”
The large crowd that came to see students show their hops and dunking ability made themselves known with animated responses throughout the dunk-off.
“It really looked like everyone was having a good time dancing and screaming for the best dunks. It was a college atmosphere,” Graziano said. “The cheering, and jeering, was all great fun.”
After seeing how event went, the Student Programming Board is planning to make this event happen regularly.
“After the success of this event, we are looking to make this event happen each semester,” Graziano said. “We were quite happy with it.” With the help of a few changes, the Slam Dunk Contest might draw in an even larger crowd than it did the first time. “I think the possibility of having outdoor courts on the campus would give us a better venue,” he said. “Also, it would be interesting to have a woman’s division!”
Anyone who thinks they might want to take the crown in the next contest is going to have to dethrone the champ. When asked if he will return to defend it the current slam-dunk champion said, “I guess I would have to.”