It was the one-hand jam that made hip-hop sensation Drake jump out of his seat and scream. Toronto Raptors rookie Terrence Ross threw the ball in between his legs and lunged over a ball boy for a one-handed jam in order to secure the NBA Slam Dunk contest championship.
At the same moment, 1,600 miles or so to the Northwest, Idaho junior forward Stephen Madison was taking on the WAC’s top team in La. Tech.
But it was just about this time three years ago when the two shared a locker room, helping Jefferson High School in Portland to its third consecutive 5A state championship in Oregon.
Madison found out about his former teammate’s All-Star weekend accomplishment after Idaho’s game.
“Always happy for a teammate, a good friend of mine to win a big thing like that. Winning the NBA dunk contest is a big deal,” he said.
In 2009-10, Madison spent his senior year of high school at Jefferson with Ross and Terrence Jones of the Houston Rockets. Ross, the 5A Player of the Year in Oregon when Jefferson won the first of its three consecutive state championships, didn’t participate on the court but was still part of the team — and still highly recruited.
“There was always coaches there, every day, for every practice, even when we’re just playing 2-on-2, 3-on-3 by ourselves, there’s coaches there,” Madison said. Having all that attention is good, it made everybody compete harder and we just made each other better. It overall helped everybody.”
Ross and Jones both declared for the NBA Draft after their sophomore seasons at Washington and Kentucky, respectively. Ross was selected No. 8 overall, Jones No. 18 overall.
“It’s a lot of excitement playing with two really good players. They’re in the NBA now, got drafted, and so playing with them made me a lot better,” Madison said. “Working off their games and getting better and learning from them, which was big to my success.”
With two former teammates as first round picks following their sophomore seasons of college, Madison would like to see his post-collegiate career end up in the NBA as well.
“They (Ross and Jones) tell me to want it. You have to want it more than other people out there, because there’s so many trying to get NBA contracts,” Madison said. “You have to want it more than the other person and just keep working hard everyday.”
Sean Kramercan be reached email@example.com