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Dream Factory: A Word With The Winners
by Matthew Brennan, NBA D-League.com
The NBA D-League held their third annual Dream Factory Friday presented by Haier in Dallas. NBA D-League.com was courtside so here is a closer look at the winners and how they emerged victorious on Friday night.
Dunk Contest The evening got off a rollicking start with the dunk contest, always the highlight of Dream Factory Friday night. After Albuquerque's Tony Danridge and Maine's Trey Gilder were eliminated in the first round, the second and final round became a showdown between Los Angeles' Dar Tucker and Austin's Alonzo Gee. Tucker was the favorite heading into the final dunk after receiving perfect scores on his first three attempts, and the final dunk was no different. Tucker's leap over the head of 6-11 Brian Butch will go into the annals as one of the top dunks in the history of Dream Factory Friday.
"I'm known for dunking. I didnt find out until late, and I was telling my coaches you have to get me in this contest," said Tucker. "I think one of the reps came to a game where I did a windmill, so that solidified it. I was trying to have fun and give people a good show."
Tucker's amazing leap over Butch sort of fell into the pre-planned category. He wanted to jump over a player, and originally planned on using his D-Fenders teammate Diamon Simpson as his "prop" However, since Simpson stands 6-7, Tucker wanted a bigger target to further impress the judges.
"I went up to Butch before the contest, he's a seven-footer, probably the biggest guy here", said Tucker. "I was going to go with Diamon, but that wasn't going to make the difference."
Three-Point Shootout The three-point contest saw defending champion Blake Ahearn make it back to the final round, but this time he came up short and lost by a 39-37 margin to Utah's Andre Ingram. One of the league's top long-range shooters over the past few seasons, Ingram was the lone representative of the Utah Flash during any of the NBA D-League All-Star events.
Known as a three-point specialist, Ingram has been absent from NBA D-League contests, and had never shot using the three-point rack before. Despite the unfamiliarity with the setup, Ingram didn't let making an adjustment affect him as he shot his way to victory. He took the crown in his first three-point contest since high school.
"Only in high school but it wasn't with the racks," said Ingram on his three-point contest experience. "I was curious to see how I was going to adjust, because I hadn't gotten a chance to practice with the racks. You just come out here and shoot and keep your face up because that sixty seconds goes fast. The more shots you get up, the better chance you have, so that's what I was focused on."
A player who has appeared in all three seasons with the Flash, Ingram was proud to represent the team in Dallas and will bring home a trophy to Orem. He is the first Flash player to win a competition on Dream Factory Friday Night.
"Those guys really supported me," said Ingram of the Flash organization. "I got some calls prior to the event wishing me good luck, and it feels good to win for the Flash. They've supported me for all three years that I have been in the NBA D-League, and I also want to represent my teammate Dontell Jefferson who would be here if it wasn't for injury."
Haier Shooting Stars
Always an entertaining event, Haier Shooting Stars got off to a great start in the opening round when the team of Carlos Powell, Pat Carroll, and Trey Gilder set a new competition record by finishing their round in 15.6 seconds. The historic round was completed when Powell sunk a half-court shot on their first attempt. The team went on to edge the trio of Desmon Farmer, Brian Butch, and Donell Taylor in the second round to claim the prize.
"I was telling everyone I had an advantage on them", said Powell in regards to his half-court shot abilities. "I make that shot all the time in practice. So it felt pretty easy."
When asked about strategy, Powell said his winning team didn't really have a set plan, they just tried to get to where they felt comfortable and knock their shots down. While each player on the team had contrasting shooting styles, each was able to step up and take home the first Haier Shooting Stars title at Dream Factory Friday.
"We just try to put each person in a different situation where they wanted to be", said Powell. "I wanted to be at the top of the key, so that's where I was. It was pretty simple."