It was a close finish between the backdoor dunk against UCLA and the Manny Harris drive and finish against Clemson. It’s clear that these are the top two plays of the year and nothing else comes close. The Manny Harris “and one” pulled off the win by three votes, but it is the winner none the less.
Personally, I voted for the UCLA play. That moment was the start of this year’s run, without it team is not nearly as successful. That one play alone taught this team how to believe. The fact that UCLA wasn’t quite as good as their pre-season ranking suggested was insignificant. The reactions on the bench, and of the players on the court, were something of a mix of shock and surprise but also confidence and pride. They carried this subtle confidence with them throughout the rest of the season whether it was against Duke, Clemson, or anyone else in between.
The Clemson play was the bookend to the magical season. The thirty games in between the two plays were tumultuous, they included big wins and frustrating losses, but UCLA started the run and Clemson was the feather in the cap – an NCAA tournament win.
The plays in between were just as miraculous, some of them probably even more surprising or extraordinary, but the moments that we will always remember about this year are clear.
“Back door cut for the slam!”,
“Ohhhh what a great play from the offside! That’s coaching, that’s teaching, that’s execution. The backdoor cut from the weakside, catching UCLA sleeping on the weakside. That doesn’t usually happen!”
“Harris is left wide open, he drives in, yes! and a foul. Manny, ohh Manny”
It seems like I missed a few plays that at least deserved a spot on the list. Here are the main three, apologies to Zack Gibson and Manny Harris (who was on the list enough as it is).
- Manny Harris’ baseline three pointer at Minnesota
- Manny Harris’ steal and dunk at Northwestern
- Zack Gibson’s dunk versus Illinois