KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Rocky Mountain College senior Craig Wilmore knew he wanted to dunk a basketball when he was just 5 years old.
He was watching NBA superstar Vince Carter put on a show during the 2000 NBA dunk contest in Oakland.
Seven years later he dunked his first basketball.
“I was at a University of Central Florida game,” Wilmore said. “It was halftime and a few of my buddies said, ‘let me see it.’”
Wilmore’s love for dunking came to the forefront this Saturday when he participated in the 6th annual NABC-NAIA Shoot and Slam event at the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.
He competed against the nation’s top NAIA dunkers, which included Lewis-Clark State’s Andre McCowan, York’s Patrick Burnett and Judson’s Taylor Boley. Much like the NBA event, there were five judges, each could score the participant’s dunk up to 10 points.
His windmill and self-lob reverse dunk in the first round got the crowd excited, but it wasn’t enough to move on.
He didn’t matter though.
“It’s just a fun experience getting together with everybody in the NAIA,” Wilmore said. “A couple of bounces didn’t go my way so I didn’t really want to do the dunks I wanted to do.”
Wilmore had some other dunks in his pocket like one between the legs but he didn’t want to repeat a dunk McCowan did earlier.
Wilmore is set to graduate this spring but after he was asked if he would participate in another one he responded simply.
After all, he did go to the same Daytona Beach high school like his idol Carter.