By Roman Veytsman
EVAN CARAVELLI/ Arizona Daily Wildcat
Hassan Adams takes flight on his way to the rim during Arizona's exhibition game against Team Georgia last semester. Adams says he aims to rile up the crowd when he slams the ball home.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Gliding through the air, 42 inches off the ground, the ball is swung around from his knees to over his head like a swing set and goes through the net as the basket shakes.
Hassan Adams is taking flight.
This isn't the first time the 6-foot-4, 212-pound Adams has dunked a basketball. He's been jamming since he was in the eighth grade, abusing baskets with rim-rattling, chest-beating, monster dunks.
Adams isn't even concerned with whether or not a dunk will make it on Top 10 list on "SportsCenter", but rather, which spot.
"You always want to see what number you're going to be," Adams said with a smile, adding that he remembers the first time he was part of the highlight show.
It was in an exhibition game freshman year, and Adams just knew it was going to make the highlights.
"I stayed up and I watched it, just in case," Adams said.
He was No. 4 that day.
Dunking is something that has always fascinated him, Adams said.
"That's all I wanted to do," Adams said. "When you're young that's all you want to do."
As a kid growing up in Los Angeles, Adams was always jumping around, trying to touch the top of doors and inadvertently building his jumping ability.
"I was always active, always playing sports, always dribbling a basketball in my back yard," Adams said.
During eighth grade, playing Amateur Athletic Union basketball on a traveling team, Adams said he was always motivated by taller players and a desire to out jump them.
Adams' first dunk wasn't as pretty as the ones fans are used to seeing, but it's still his most memorable.
"It was regular, off-stride, left-handed dunk, but it was the best," Adams said. "I can remember, I was about 14 and playing on my traveling team. We got a fast break, and my boys on the team stood up and were yelling 'dunk, dunk,' so I went and I did it. It was one of the best feelings. I was hyped."
Ever since, Adams has continued to make people around him stand up and cheer.
At Westchester High School in Los Angeles, Adams was surrounded by some of the top talent in the state, including Trevor Ariza of the New York Knicks, Brandon Heath of San Diego State and Ashanti Cook of Georgetown, but it was Adams who often got the most attention for his dunks.
When Adams came to Arizona, he developed a friendship with another high-profile hoopster, roommate Andre Iguodala, who is now in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Iguodala and Adams were often inseparable and it showed on the court, as they threw lobs to each other and finished with highlight-reel dunks.
"Playing with Dre (Andre) was great ... he became one of my best friends out here. It's always great to hear from him," he said.
After developing a love for the highlight-reel dunk his freshman year with Iguodala, Adams said getting free on a fast break still gets him excited.
He said he knows that every time he gets out in the open floor, spectators are on the edge of their seats, and each time Adams gets one of his Pacific 10 Conference-leading steals, he becomes anxious to hear the crowd's reaction.
"In the open court, when you get one, you just want to tear the rim down," Adams said. "When things aren't going well, we need the crowd, just to get that extra boost. Getting me one dunk, getting them riled up, that's what I do."