Garland Lakeview’s Smith a rim rattler
BOYS BASKETBALL Smith, Myers and Garrett can throw it down with flair, power
Garland Lakeview senior Zhaire Smith was the runaway winner in a survey that asked area coaches to name the top dunkers.
Garland Lakeview senior Zhaire Smith is considered the best dunker in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but his coaches had to encourage him to quit being so modest when throwing it down.
“The second-to-last home game, against Naaman Forest, he got a breakaway and did a two-hand windmill,” Lakeview coach J.T. Locklear said. “Then he kind of pointed at the bench, because we had been on him for so long about doing something a little flashier.
“I would call Zhaire a ‘shy’ dunker. He certainly can do some amazing things, but his best dunks are in the flow of play, more reaction than planning.”
D-FW basketball coaches were asked to vote for the top three high school dunkers in the area. The runaway winner was the 6-4 Smith, who averaged 20.1 points while shooting 69.4 percent from the field.
“He’s got so much bounce and timing that ANYTHING that comes off the rim at ANY angle is a possible follow-up dunk,” Rowlett coach Jason Busch wrote in an email. “There are a lot of kids that have tremendous jumping ability. Zhaire combines that with impeccable timing. Never seen anything like it. He’s an alien.”
Smith’s dunking ability is certainly out of this world, as are the talents of seniors Jordon Myers of North Crowley and Kansas signee Marcus Garrett of Skyline. Myers placed second in the coaches’ voting, and Garrett was third.
Smith said he doesn’t practice dunking much. He draws inspiration from highlights of Toronto Raptors star DeMar DeRozan, as well as two former NBA Slam Dunk Contest champions.
“I usually go on YouTube and watch Vince Carter dunks, because I’m a two-feet leaper,” Smith said. “Vince Carter and Dominique Wilkins.”
Myers watches clips of DeRozan, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant before practices and games and tries to emulate them. Garrett likes James because “he dunks hard.”
Lakeview stopped running alley-oop plays for Smith because opponents guarded against them, but Sachse coach Dwight Williams said Smith still dunked about six times on his team in two games. “This young man dunks the ball with a combination of power and finesse, much like Russell Westbrook,” Williams said.
Speaking of triple-double machines like Westbrook, Garrett averaged 16.5 points, 10.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists in the regular season before leading Skyline to this week’s state tournament in San Antonio. Skyline coach Paul Graham said his senior point guard is a different type of dunker than Desmond Mason, the NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion whom he coached while an assistant at Oklahoma State.
“Desmond Mason was more athletic,” Graham said. “I think what makes [Garrett] a good dunker is how far he takes off and glides through the air and how hard he throws it down.”
In a video shoot for SportsDay, Smith showed off a pump reverse dunk, jammed home a windmill and punctuated the display with his favorite — the 360. He did all of that while dressed casually in long pants.
“He’s such an athlete,” Locklear said of Smith, who is deciding between several Division I offers. “I want to say it was the Arkansas coach. He said, ‘He makes one high-major, Division I play a game, where you’re just in awe.”
Myers and Garrett made their video shoots look like dunk contests. The 6-4 Myers threw a pass to himself off the wall behind the basket, caught it on the run, did a 360 and slammed it down one-handed. Garrett, listed anywhere from 6-5 to 6-7, did one-handed dunks off a bounce pass to himself and also off a pass to himself off the backboard.
Tommy Brakel coached Willie Warren, who led North Crowley to a state title in 2008 before playing at Oklahoma and briefly in the NBA. Warren is North Crowley’s all-time leading scorer. Myers is No. 2.
“His dunking is a little bit different than Willie’s,” Brakel said. “Willie’s was so athletic and so explosive. Jordon’s is much smoother, and you don’t even realize you’re about to get dunked on until it’s too late.”