You had to be there for WSU game

By By Tony Pizza, Sports Editor

By Tony Pizza, Sports Editor

The footage of this dunk is dull and grainy. It exists only in the memory of those who saw it. If a clip of it was on YouTube, there would be no debate.

The revamped Runnin’ Utes under Jim Boylen were still fresher than the driven snow. Carlon Brown was still just a name on the roster to most Utah fans. The shock factor of this dunk has a lot to do with it being Brown’s best8212;or maybe it was the downright nastiness of it.

I drove to Ogden to watch the Utes take on the Weber State Wildcats. With 2:16 remaining in the first half, Brown took a feed from guard Johnnie Bryant on the right wing. Had a camera been in the building, the ensuing play would have made the nightly news8212;and “SportsCenter.” It would be on Youtube. I would be watching it right now for the 1,278th time and I would have still said, “Whoa.” You know, like Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix.”

Brown took the Bryant feed, made one dribble and encountered a Weber State defender. I don’t remember his name, but it might as well have been George Bush. Brown seemed destined to take the ball under the hoop for a reverse layup at best. Joe Wildcat was easily 6-foot-8-inches and seemed to have timed his jump just right. But Brown jumped higher. A lot higher. Now, I could be remembering this slightly wrong, just like every boy remembers how cute the prettiest girl in junior high was, but it made the same impact.

The sleeves on those little muscle shirts Brown wears were about even with the rim. Brown soared over the blur from about eight feet out and seemed as if he was on an elevator. He then stuffed the ball with so much authority I thought I had seen the second coming of his royal airness Michael Jordan. It was one of those moments where time stood still. So did the Weber State crowd. Guys froze and then glanced at one another. An abrupt, “Ohhhhh…” then rained on the court in unison. They didn’t even replay the dunk on the Jumbotron, but it didn’t matter. The image was permanently burned into my mind like a photograph negative. I replay what happened and I still get chills thinking about it.

Brown’s dunk was just the first of many times he made another college student a poster boy. His personal best doesn’t exist anywhere that I’m aware of. The best adjective I could think of at the time to describe the dunk was “filthy.” That’s still how I refer to it.

After the game, teammate Shaun Green couldn’t even put it into words. I’m not sure I can better describe it now.

“I can’t really explain Carlon’s dunk,” Green said. “It just got the team excited. That play was just amazing. I’ve never seen that in person.”

Green and others have since witnessed the act repeated in one variety or another. As spectacular as Brown’s most recent facial was against TCU, it lacked the unexpected factor.

There’s really no shock anymore at what Brown can do on a basketball court. That started with Weber State. On Oct. 23, 1906, Alberto Santos-Dumont was the first person to construct a “heavier than air” aircraft that took off from a normal airstrip under calm weather conditions. Yet it is the Wright brothers who are commonly referred to as the fathers of aviation. That’s because their 36-meter flight occurred Dec. 17, 1903, nearly three years earlier. Carlon Brown’s flight capabilities were revealed on Nov. 28, 2007. Everything that followed just fell in line on the growing list of awe.

[email protected]