Beware, Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine, because Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Terrance Ferguson is similarly defiant toward gravity—and he could be coming for your titles as the NBA’s best contest dunkers.
After playing sparingly to start the season, Ferguson was awarded with his first career start on Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers. He seized the moment, and the hoop, for a career night.
The 19-year-old nearly doubled his career point total, dropping 24 points and hitting six of his nine attempts from deep.
When he wasn’t bombing away from deep, he showed off the aerial prowess that made him an intriguing prospect before his getting selected No. 21 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft.
In the span of about a minute, with his team up huge in the fourth, Ferguson threw down two of the more ferocious dunks you’ll see this season, the second of which was of the nasty, windmill variety.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 4, 2018
“When I dunked the ball, that’s when I looked over to the bench and saw them go crazy,” he told reporters after a 133-96 victory.
He credited Russell Westbrook for giving him a confidence boost during the contest.
“Russ told me, ‘I don’t care if you miss 10 shots in a row, just keep shooting,'” Ferguson said.
— FOX Sports Oklahoma (@FOXSportsOK) January 4, 2018
Ferguson hails from Oklahoma, but he opted to forgo a year of college basketball to play professionally in Australia before his getting drafted in June.
He doesn’t quite have the handle or creation ability to be an on-the-ball star, but he possesses, as you’ve probably noticed, the freakish athleticism to become a defensive asset on the wing, and a beautiful shooting stroke that had scouts drooling ahead of the draft—the makeup to one day be an elite three-and-D role player.
Will never forget Terrance Ferguson popping off for 7 triples at the 2016 Nike Hoop Summit in 15 minutes of play. Has always had the ability to get hot in a hurry. Such great balance and rise. pic.twitter.com/vS9IMm6kqm
— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) January 4, 2018
While there’s no guarantee he’ll appear in this year’s NBA dunk contest, he fits the bill—young, low-profile, and able to soar into supposedly unreachable altitudes.
For an idea of what he can offer in a slam-off, here’s his victorious performance in the 2016 Ballislife All-American dunk contest.