Red wings can fly

Falcons hold dunk contest during Falcon Frenzy

Uriah Aguon, Staff Writer

David Lee is rushed by Jacob Gray (23) and Zack Paulsen (1) after winning a quarter’s worth of free books during Falcon Frenzy on Oct. 26, 2022. (Rio Giancarlo)

Seattle Pacific University held its first annual Falcon Frenzy on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022. The event was hosted by both the men’s and women’s basketball teams, whose seasons are just approaching.

Falcons and Falcons fans were treated to games, activities and skills presentations from players on both squads. Activities were aimed at audience engagement, with games such as hotshot, relay races and raffles for gift cards.

The main event of the night was the dunk competition featuring members of the men’s basketball team, such as sophomore business major Syon Blackmon.

“This is our first time doing it, and we really tried to do something different,” Blackmon said.

Participants were allowed following attempts if their initial one fell short, which Blackmon made use of. Unable to sink his first choice, Blackmon decided to switch to a different dunk.

“I lobbed it, and I did a little 180. I kind of wanted to catch a lob off the side of the backboard, but it didn’t really work, so I just went to a dunk I knew I could make … I’m not too happy, but it’s okay. We’ll get it next year,” Blackmon said.

Another participant in the contest was freshman communications major Jonas La Tour.

“We kind of know who are the best dunkers and who has the most bounce … I guess everyone just has a common knowledge of who can get up there and who can dunk it well, so that’s how we determined who was going to be in the contest tonight,” La Tour said.

When deciding which dunk to use for the contest, La Tour decided to keep it simple.

Jonas La Tour leaps from the GNAC logo during the Falcon Frenzy dunk contest at Royal Brougham Pavilion on Oct. 26, 2022.  (Rio Giancarlo)

“I’d say a famous dunk that’s used in dunk contests is dunking from the freethrow line, and … I can’t dunk from the freethrow line, but I can dunk from the GNAC logo. … People don’t realize how hard that is. I was talking to my coach and just said, ‘That’s really far.’ … It’s simple, but it’s really hard, but maybe I should’ve chosen something more intricate for the fans,” La Tour said.

Despite his runner-up status at the end of the contest, La Tour was gracious for the opportunity and thankful to the fans who showed their support.

“It was great to see everyone coming out, and congrats to Ben for winning the dunk contest, but at the end of the night, it’s all fun and games, and we’re all just here to interact with the fans, have fun, and I feel like that’s what we did. I love basketball,” La Tour said.

The winner of the dunk contest, transfer sociology junior Ben Baker, was confident in his ability going in and expected to advance to the final round.

“I’ve always been pretty good at dunking, so I knew that, no matter how it played out, I’d have a pretty good chance of moving on to the second round and winning, so it was a lot of fun, and the more fun you have, the easier it is,” Baker said. “I definitely have dunks that I’m better at, and [I used] two of them, but before, during warmups, I was kind of practicing, feeling out which ones were feeling good and which ones I was making. The windmill and the double-pump reverse were ones I knew I was gonna pull out.”

With this being the first dunk contest he had ever won, Baker gained an immediate confidence boost, but he made sure to credit the effort and talent of his teammates, even naming Blackmon as his choice for first runner-up.

“This is the first dunk contest I’ve actually ever been in and won, so I’m feeling pretty good about my dunking ability moving forward. Hopefully, I can win some more contests … Behind myself, probably Syon, even though he got bounced out in the first round, but we got a couple guys who are pretty good at dunking,” Baker said.

Despite his success in this contest, Baker does not think he is the best dunker on the Falcons’ team.

“One of our best dunkers – actually, our best dunker – Clayton, he got a concussion earlier today during practice, and he probably would have won the whole thing without a doubt. He’s just like a freak, he could do any dunk you can think of, so I’d say he probably would have won,” Baker said.

La Tour and Blackmon shared the same opinion, and La Tour kindly referred to Whitman as their “bounciest guy.”

The men’s basketball season is set to begin Tuesday, Nov. 1, against Lincoln University. Women’s basketball begins Sunday, Oct. 30, against the University of Idaho.