STORY & PHOTOS BY GLENN NELSON
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - You'd think that certain stereotypes were smashed when Candace Parker turned this event on its ear back in 2004. That's when she shocked all by winning the Slam Dunk competition at the McDonald's All-American Game.
Then again, the record of that event in the official media guide is listed under "Past Results - Boys."
In spite of the much-chronicled efforts of Parker, Lisa Leslie and others, the dunk contest has gone the way of the treehouse with the "No Girlz Allowed" sign hanging on its door.
At least that's the way it kind of felt to Georgia's Kelley Cain and Florida's Krystal Thomas, who along with Georgia's Maya Moore, signed up for the Dunk Competition at Monday's Powerade Jam Fest.
The three were asked to "try out" (Thomas said this while making the signs with her fingers) for the contest by attempting dunks after Monday's team workout. No boys were required to audition, they said. Cain and Thomas said all three missed some dunk attempts, but also made several. Cain said Thomas had the most creative jam, coming along the baseline, taking off on one side of the basket, going underneath the backboard and dunking on the other side.
Cain and Thomas said the girls were told that there was too much concern that they'd reach the limit of two missed dunks and end up with zero points in the first round. However, as they pointed out, at least one of the boys did just that. Although by far the most spectacular competitor in the field, Michael Beasley of Notre Dame Prep in West Virginia, missed two dunks and had a zero score, albeit in the finals and for just one of his dunk scores.
Blake Griffin of Oklahoma City won the 2007 competition.
"I'm not mad they made us do that," said Thomas, who is 6 feet 5 and hails from The First Academy in Orlando, Fla. "I understood where they were coming from."
Moore, who is 6-1, is the consensus No. 1 prospect in the 2007 class and signed with Connecticut. The Duke-bound Thomas is the No. 5 prospect nationally by HoopGurlz.com, while Cain is No. 12 and signed with Tennessee.
Cain, who is 6-6 and hails from St. Pius X Catholic in Atlanta, Ga., said she believed the three girls would have fit in with the boys who competed on Monday night.
"We could have been out there with them," she said. "The top three were really good. We can't turn around and do that other stuff ... yet."
Neither has even attempted a dunk in competition. Moore has been filmed and photographed dunking in other contests.
Both, however, had a plan for the contest. Cain said she would have made a straight-on dunk, then slammed off a drop-step move. Thomas said she would have dunked straight-on, then from the baseline, optimistically saving her behind-the-board dunk for the next round.
"I just wish I had a chance to be out there," Thomas said.
All-American Rim Shots
Topps created cards for all 48 players (24 girls and 24 boys) who will compete in the McDonald's All-American Game at Freedom Hall on Wednesday night. The cards, produced in 24 hours using a special production process, feature color portraits and an autograph section on the front and personal data, playing style description and career highlights on the back. Each player received 100 copies of her or his own card. Fans attending the game will receive two cards (one girl and one boy). ... The states of California - Vicki Baugh of Sacramento, Jeanette Pohlen of Brea and Lenita Sanford of Inglewood - and Georgia - Cain, Moore and Drey Mingo of Atlanta - have the most McDonald's All-Americans. ... Eight McDonald's All-Americans played on the USA U18 National Team - Baugh, Cain and Moore, plus Stefanie Gilbreath of Katy, Texas; Jantel Lavender of Cleveland, Ohio; Italee Lucas of Las Vegas, Nev.; Kayla Pedersen of Mesa, Ariz., and Khadijah Rushdan of Wilmington, Del.
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Glenn Nelson is the publisher of HoopGurlz.com and the editor-in-chief of Scout Media (www.Scout.com), an online sports network and magazine-publishing company and subsidiary of Fox Interactive Media. Glenn also founded and coached
the Dragons and Northwest HoopGurlz select girl's basketball teams. He previously was a longtime, national-award-winning basketball columnist and writer for The Seattle
Times. His work also has appeared in several national magazines and books. He is co-author of "Rising Stars: The Ten Best Players in the NBA" (Rosen Publishing, 2002). He
can be reached at email@example.com.