FAYETTEVILLE — Ready or not, SEC play is here for the Arkansas basketball team.
A top-25 showdown with Baylor in the Big 12/SEC Challenge looms next month, but the Razorbacks are otherwise through the non-conference portion of their schedule.
Arkansas will head to LSU on Wednesday with an 11-1 record, top-10 ranking and high-flying reputation as one of the most exciting and entertaining teams in the country. With eight more in their last game, the Razorbacks have thrown down 59 dunks — and that’s just during the regular season.
Ten different players have contributed to that total, which includes many highlight-worthy dunks, although it’s worth nothing that Nick Smith Jr. would like make more appearances if not dealing with a knee injury and Devo Davis hasn’t yet thrown down a signature dunk as he did at the end of the win vs No. 1 Auburn last year.
With that in mind, Best of Arkansas Sports has compiled a list of the best dunks by Arkansas through non-conference play. We started with No. 11-20, plus the “best of the rest,” on Monday and will now unveil the top 10…
Before you check out the top 10, be sure to check out No. 11-20 here:
Top Arkansas Basketball Dunks: 10-1
10. Nick Smith Jr. lob to Ricky Council IV for reverse slam vs. Oklahoma
Arkansas got off to a slow start against Oklahoma, trailing by as many as nine, but this play midway through the first half was the start of it chipping away at the deficit and ultimately taking the lead before halftime. Council probably could have just finished it like a regular alley oop, but gave it some extra flair by throwing down a reverse dunk.
9. Anthony Black lobs it WAY up to Trevon Brazile vs. Creighton
In the closing seconds of the first half against Creighton at the Maui Invitational, Anthony Black drove the lane and drew the defense in on him — and when the Bluejays collapsed around the freshman, he threw it up for Trevon Brazile. Like a great quarterback in football, Black put it where only his guy could get it, and thankfully his guy is a 6-foot-10 athletic freak with a 7-foot-3 wingspan and 42.5-inch vertical.
8. Ricky Council IV avoids defender for reverse slam vs. San Diego State
This is the second of three reverse dunks by Ricky Council IV in our top 10. Not much else to say. He’s pretty good at it.
7. Ricky Council IV one-handed tomahawk vs. Fordham
The Razorbacks have shown time and time again that their offense consists of a lot of run outs. The reason for that is because they have the athleticism to finish those plays with powerful dunks like this tomahawk slam by Ricky Council IV against Fordham.
It was after this game that the Wichita State transfer was asked who his favorite dunker was growing up.
“Michael Jordan, easy,” Council said without hesitation. “That’s all I watched growing up. A lot of older people say, ‘Oh, you didn’t really get to watch (him).’ I really watched Michael Jordan all the time. My dad had all the DVDs, tapes, whatever you want, so I felt like he was in my generation, that’s how much I watched him.”
6. Davonte Davis lob to Ricky Council IV over a defender to seal win vs. Oklahoma
Yet another Ricky Council IV appearance in our top-10 list, and certainly not the last, this one came with the help of a lob from Davonte Davis. The Razorbacks had already led by double digits for a good chunk of the second half, but this dunk put an exclamation point on a revenge victory over the Sooners in Tulsa.
5. Nick Smith Jr. lob to Anthony Black for poster over Rogers State
Some day, when Sam Davidson is recounting his Division II basketball career, he may or may not leave out the time he got dunked on by projected lottery pick Anthony Black. It was an impressive slam and Davonte Davis’ reaction at the end of the clip is priceless.
4. Trevon Brazile putback slam vs. Bakken in Europe
When Arkansas went overseas this summer, Trevon Brazile’s aforementioned athleticism was something most fans had only heard about, or perhaps they saw some flashes of it while he was at Missouri the previous season.
This dunk, though, proved that it wasn’t just a myth. He went up, grabbed a rebound with one hand — despite teammate Jordan Walsh having two hands on the ball — and violently threw it down for a thunderous putback slam.
“That all happened so quick,” Brazile said afterward. “I just saw the ball, and I didn’t even try to dunk it. I wasn’t even thinking about that. I was just trying to rebound it because I grab rebounds with one hand a lot, so I just grabbed the rebound and the rim was right there.”
3. Ricky Council IV reverse poster vs. North Dakota State
The Razorbacks were already in cruise control in their season opener against North Dakota State when Ricky Council IV drove to the basket and effortlessly threw down a reverse dunk with a defender still on him. It was so smooth that those watching the game in person might not have fully appreciated its brilliance live.
“I always know Ricky is going to do some crazy stuff,” teammate Trevon Brazile said. “You never know with that guy. The reverse dunk was just… I’ve never seen somebody reverse on somebody just driving down the lane. He’s crazy.”
2. Ricky Council IV fastbreak poster vs. Troy
After a tough stretch of three games in three days at the Maui Invitational, Arkansas returned to Fayetteville and found itself in a battle with Troy. Luckily for the Razorbacks, Ricky Council IV caught a second wind and scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half.
His performance was capped by a fastbreak dunk over a defender that took the No. 2 spot in that night’s SportsCenter Top 10 plays.
“Honestly, I thought it was going to be harder than that because they were pressuring us all game, but I got past my dude a little bit,” Council said. “I knew he had to play both, so I was like ‘I’m just going to take it to the goal and see what happens.’”
1. Trevon Brazile poster vs. South Dakota State
There wasn’t much doubt that this was Arkansas’ No. 1 dunk of the season so far. It might be the dunk of the year in all of college basketball — or even basketball in general.
Eric Musselman told reporters that his 12-year-old daughter, Mariah, missed the game because of dance class, but had already texted him to let him know Trevon Brazile’s dunk over South Dakota State’s Broden Lien had already gone viral. Sure enough, LeBron James posted about it on Instagram and Magic Johnson tweeted about it.
“The dunk was pretty crazy,” teammate Anthony Black said. “That’s all I’ve got to say. I was out of my seat, on the court and everything. … He’s a monster.”
Of course, Musselman wasn’t particularly happy about the technical foul that followed, as Kamani Johnson celebrated his teammate’s incredible dunk by tapped his head — an action seen as a taunt worthy of a technical foul by the NCAA this season.
“I did tell the team in the locker room, ‘Let’s not give two points right back by getting the technical,’” Musselman said. “Like, let’s act like we’ve seen that play. Not that we ever have. But let’s act like we have.”
It’s just a shame we won’t get to see Brazile make any more SportsCenter Top 10 plays like this — which was, unsurprisingly, No. 1 — in SEC play because of his season-ending ACL injury suffered earlier this month.
Andrew Hutchinson contributed to this ranking.
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