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Jacob Tucker - Local College Athlete Leaps His Way Into the National Spotlight
Small School Athlete Takes the NCAA Slam Dunk Championship
Most of you reading this hub might ask yourself, where is Illinois College located and why are you writing a hub about it? Well, Illinois College is a small liberal arts college located in Jacksonville, Illinois and the home of the 2011 NCAA Slam Dunk Champion, Jacob Tucker. Tucker is a 5 foot 11 inch Senior guard on the Illinois College Blueboys men's basketball team from the southern Illinois town of Carlyle. He averaged 14.8 points and lead the team with 7.1 rebounds per game.
Tucker was given an opportunity to enter the 2011 NCAA Slam Dunk Championships in Houston through an online vote on Facebook from March 17 - 29. Yes, I voted for Jacob Tucker to make the competition. The online vote gave the opportunity for a non-Division I athlete to compete in the slam dunk contest. Other participants in the 2011 NCAA Slam Dunk Championship were Division I athletes from schools such as University of Pittsburgh, St. John's University of New York, and San Diego State University (all schools qualified for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament this year).
Tucker was not just from the smallest school (Illinois College's enrollment is 1000 students) but was the shortest participant at 5'11. Tucker earned 2 perfect scores during the competition. Not bad for someone who became a YouTube sensation. Tucker was proved that "David" was better than all of the "Goliath's" of NCAA Division I. It shows that there some talented student athletes that come from schools not named Duke, Kentucky, or Kansas. For those of you who may not be aware, student athletes at the NCAA Division III level DO NOT receive athletic scholarships. Division III schools can offer athletes financial aid grants to play sports but that may not pay for all of their schooling. If you are watching the Final Four this weekend at home, all four schools because they are NCAA Division I can offer student athletes a full ride scholarship to pay for board and tuition. At the Division II level, schools can offer some financial assistance for student athletes but not all school expenses are paid for by the school and the student athlete is responsible for those costs. A few select Division II schools do offer full athletic scholarships.
Just the fact Tucker hails from a small school makes this feat impressive. It shows people that great athletes do not have to hail from a big named school. On Monday, April 4th, Illinois College and City of Jacksonville, IL will honor Jacob Tucker with a parade and ceremony at the campus gymnasium. Media members are welcomed to attend. I will not be in attendance but I think it is pretty awesome to have a student athlete from your area accomplish something so big. Shown below are Jacob Tucker's video on YouTube of his submission on Facebook and his dunks from the NCAA Slam Dunk Championship. Congratulations Jacob, you deserved it.
6/23/11 Update - Jacob Tucker was drafted by the Harlem Globetrotters on Monday, June 20th. Tucker has spent his summer speaking to children at basketball camps and signing autographs at local events throughout Illinois.