After four years of ripping the rim down, ETSU’s senior A.J. Merriweather became the fourth Buccaneer to be selected to the Slam Dunk Championship roster for the State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships.
“It’s an honor,” said Merriweather. “I want to go down there and have fun and enjoy the experience just to top off my senior year. You can’t really ask for much more other than making it further in the tournament, but the dice didn’t roll that way, but I’m happy.”
The Buccaneers before him who competed in the Slam Dunk Championship were teammate Deuce Bello (Greensboro, N.C.) in 2016, Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) in 2011 and 1992 Slam Dunk Champion Calvin Talford (Castlewood, Va.).
Although Merriweather has made a name for himself in his dunking performance, he did not see this invitation coming.
“Earlier on in the season my teammates were joking about it, but I had no clue I was going to be in it,” said Merriweather. “But I feel like after we went to the tournament and our dunks kind of went “viral,” I had a feeling they might try to put me in there.”
His plan is to go over a few things, but not to over-practice. He feels that over-practicing leads to overthinking.
Merriweather said he may have some tricks up his sleeve, but the dunks he will be doing are ones he’s done “a million times.”
He will compete in the Denny’s Slam Dunk Championship alongside seven other college dunkers.
Merriweather will be competing against Wisconsin’s Vitto Brown, SE Missouri State’s Antonius Cleveland, Wright State’s Steven Davis, South Dakota’s Tyler Flack, Boston College’s Garland Owens, Georgetown’s Rodney Pryor and Fresno State’s Paul Watson.
The 29th annual State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships will be on Thursday, March 30 at Grand Canyon University Arena in Phoenix.
Merriweather wants to represent the school, the community, his hometown and overall “just have fun and make memories.”