Will’s already been all over it this morning, but if anything ever deserved a double take, it’s Admiral Schofield’s dunk last night against Mississippi State in the 2019 SEC Tournament.
I know you’ve already seen it by now, but I also know that both you and I want to see it again, no matter how many times we’ve already watched it. All by its lonesome, it would have been recorded as one of the best moments in Tennessee basketball history:
Will’s already pointed out how perfect everything about that was in the actual moment, but sometimes moments come and then they go, relegated to the archives as they’re pushed aside by the next thing.
But the biggest moments never make it storage. They’re immediately put in a prominent location in the display case. This usually happens due to a flood of ancillary moments that sweep over, through, and around the moment itself. And there were a lot those.
We never saw it coming
One of the most amazing things about the dunk is that it was entirely unexpected right up until the time it happened. When Admiral drove into the lane and jumped off the wrong foot eight feet from the basket, it looked like he was thinking layup and maybe an and-one
But no. He rose — blasted off, really — and never mind that defender standing there between him and the hoop; he looks
It happened so fast and was so unexpected that the bench had no time for a proper One Fly, We All Fly. If you watch it closely, only one guy gets synched up (and I bet research would reveal that he jumps every time somebody’s in the lane anyway). Everybody else acts like their boss just caught them sleeping and poked them with a sharp pencil.
It was equal parts shock and awe, and it was so potent that it gave Grant Williams the vapors. The two-time SEC Player of the Year clutched his heart, pretended to faint, and fell into the arms of a grinning Yves Pons. (Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Pons actually smile before. High standards, that one.)
For Williams, it was apparently a rare and extended case of the archaic condition, too:
“It was a heat of the moment thing,” Williams said. “I actually did faint a little bit. I was shocked. I did not expect that whatsoever. I kept fainting because I kept thinking about it.”
Vol Network color analyst Bert Bertlekamp is not prone to fainting. He is, however, prone to excitement, which is why we love him. Here’s what happens when a guy who lives with his knob turned up to 10 needs to crank it to 15:
Yes, that was Hammer Time, Baby, and the Vol Network audio engineer is currently looking for a good deal on a new compressor.
Teammate Kyle Alexander was also in awe:
“Man, oh my gosh,” Alexander said. “I got to see my roommate fly today. That was big time.”
And Schofield, seeing the replay for the first time after the game, concurred:
Listen, we generally eschew hyperbole on this site, but enlarge this picture and then decide for yourself whether we’re making too much of this:
That thing was a triple exclamation point in an evening filled with them. There was a moment earlier in the game when Jordan Bone hit a long three-pointer with the shot clock winding down that caused him to break out into a smile so wide you’d have thought he was just drafted first in the NBA lottery. I can’t even find a picture or GIF of that now; it’s either buried under dunk stuff or simply forgotten.
That Schofield dunk, plus the fact that the team won the game, transported everybody in orange directly to post-game Happy Land:
A shirtless Jordan Bowden even commandeered a post-game interview with Bone just to rib him about missing a free throw:
And Williams, after he recovered his senses, interrupted his interview to goad notorious nice-guy Kyle Alexander:
There are so many things that have made this season so special. It’s not just the winning. It’s not just that this team is full of good guys you don’t have to worry about getting into trouble. It’s not just about One Fly, We All Fly, or the pre-game prayers, or the pre-season baptisms. It’s not just the huge moments like Bowden’s alley-oop dunk earlier in the season or the Admiral Schofield Dunk that Gave Grant Williams the Vapors. It’s all of those things, and I hope there are still more ahead for these guys.