Woodley places second in Dark Horse Dunker

One of Northwestern State’s men’s basketball players, Zeek Woodley, made it all the way to the finals of the State Farm 2017 College Slam Dunk Competition.

The Slam Dunk Competition is a series of online voting for college basketball players based on a video of the player doing a slam dunk. To enter the competition, Woodley had to submit a video of himself and be chosen by a committee.

“Voting went on for roughly three weeks, and everyone could vote once a day,” Head Basketball Coach Mike McConathy said.

Voting closed on Friday, March 17, at noon, and the results were close. Woodley finished with 49.6 percent of votes, and his competitor, Antonius Cleveland from Southeast Missouri State, won the final round with 50.4 percent.

Regardless of the numbers, McConathy was still blown away by the support Woodley received.

“It was awesome seeing the whole town and state pulling together to try to help him get to Phoenix,” McConathy said. “We had Demons from Florida and Michigan and Las Vegas trying to make a dream a reality. Many people in the schools and university wanted to see him succeed.”

Though the loss was unfortunate, the numbers proved that the competition was a tight race. Woodley was in the lead up until the last 15 minutes of the voting.

McConathy said he was “naturally, disappointed, but grateful for the opportunity that Zeek was provided.”

“It was really great exposure of our great university,” McConathy said. “Anytime you are on a national stage makes it special for all involved.”

The support that has been shown for Woodley doesn’t just stop with the competition, though. Professor of Classics Davina McClain said that the coaching staff does an amazing job in showing the players that they care about them as individuals.

“The fact that Zeek has made it this far shows how supportive we are of students,” McClain said.

Woodley broke the scoring record for the university despite sitting out for six weeks with a broken wrist. The record that he broke had been in place for 40 years.

Although Woodley will not be in Phoenix at the Final Four in April, Northwestern State will have another player there. Sabri Thompson will attend the event to receive recognition for the All State Good Works team, an honor received by only five of the Division’s basketball players for community service.