Junior Riley Woodson became well known for his inspiring dunks throughout the Knights basketball season. Photo courtesy of Pam McKenney.
By Jack McNally
Video by Justin Kasser
The Menlo Boys Basketball team has seen an unparalleled amount of success this year down low, in large part because of junior big man Riley Woodson. Woodson was on varsity for the second straight year and has been lighting up both the boards and the scoresheet. However, Woodson’s most helpful addition to the team is his ability to get the team, and crowd, pumped up with his tantalizing dunks.
Having been able to dunk since Freshman year, Woodson has made this aspect of his game a focal point in practice. “I have been working on it a lot since sophomore year and especially in the last nine months,” Woodson said. “I think my dunks get the team hyped and just brings out the best in the team. ” Woodson has noticed the effect his dunks have had on games, which is why he has put so much emphasis on improving his dunking ability.
Woodson’s contributions to the team have certainly not been limited to his dunks and the dunks have not gone unnoticed by teammates when it comes to getting energy boosts. “Everytime he dunks it gets us a little more fired up to keep pushing, even when we're tired late in a game,” senior captain Jack Gold said. “Riley’s always pushing us to work our hardest on both ends of the court. He’ll play defense guards and work on his handles to improve his game which is unconventional for a big man.”
Woodson’s dunks aren’t only a motivator for his teammates; Woodson’s dunks also charge up the crowd. The dedicated Sea of Gold crowd has made a point of watching out for Woodson’s dunks. Menlo Sea of Gold Captain Griff McGarry took notice as well. “His dunks always electrify the gym and give Sea of Gold a burst of energy and excitement,” McGarry said.
Woodson has had particularly motivating dunks against Menlo’s rival Sacred Heart Prep. The two dunks in the first game against SHP set the stage for Menlo superstardom. In one of the biggest games of the year, Riley rose up for a strong two handed jam against Menlo’s biggest rivals, whom they had not beaten in 7 consecutive games. The dunk sent the crowd and Woodson’s teammates into a frenzy. Fueled behind the dunk, Menlo soared to a 20 point lead along with another flashy dunk by Woodson. The next game began with a bang as within the first minute of the game Woodson threw down a jam. In total, Woodson has had three momentum shifting dunks against Menlo’s biggest rival. Look for Woodson to carry on his slams next year as he will only get better.