Toppers show high-flying ability at Hilltopper Hysteria

WKU senior forward O’Karo Akamune slam dunks the ball during an inter-sqaud scrimmage during Hilltopper Hysteria.

Tyler Lashbrook

The men’s basketball team showcased a mix of returning talent and unfamiliar faces at Saturday’s Hilltopper Hysteria.

Seven new Toppers were on the floor for Saturday night’s event — freshman guard Payton Hulsley, freshman guard Brandon Price, redshirt junior Trency Jackson, junior forward Aaron Adeoye, freshman forward Ben Lawson, sophomore center Daouda Soumaoro and redshirt freshman guard Chris Harrison-Docks.

Adeoye said it was exciting to perform in front of WKU fans for the first time.

“(Coach Harper) said ‘Just go out there and play around,’” Adeoye said. “So that’s what we did, you know — we just had fun with it.”

The familiar faces reminded Topper fans of WKU’s last two Sun Belt Conference Tournament title runs with explosive plays.  

Junior guard Kevin Kaspar, senior guard Caden Dickerson and senior guard Brandon Harris all knocked down three-pointers during the inter-squad scrimmage.

Junior guard T.J. Price knocked down a handful of deep three-pointers and finished a couple drives to the basket as well.

The Toppers also showed off their ability to dunk the ball as well.

Junior forward George Fant threw down a thunderous back door alley-oop with one hand less than a minute into the game and redshirt sophomore forward Nigel Snipes, returning this season after an ACL tear sidelined him last year, knocked down a few jumpers and electrified the crowd with a reverse dunk from the baseline at one point.

The new guys — redshirt junior guard Trency Jackson and junior forward Aaron Adeoye — showcased to Topper fans what they bring to the table.

Jackson scored 19 points, knocking down five three-pointers in the process, while Adeoye flashed multiple post moves.

Both new guys said they are adjusting well in their first semester on The Hill.

Jackson said fans should get used to the the fast pace — coach Harper has the team playing a full-court press on defense in practice.

“This year is going to be fun,” he said. “Coach Harper got us pressing. We’re playing a fast-paced game because we have more athletic dudes and it’s going to be fun.”

Jackson, a transfer from Texas Tech University, has to sit out until the first semester is over, per NCAA rules.

He proved to be an electrifying athlete in the dunk contest. He didn’t win the competition because he was unable to finish his dunk in the last round — he tried to do a 360 where he took the ball between the legs after throwing an alley-oop pass to himself — but his efforts received cheers from the crowd.

Adeoye was crowned champion after completing a two-handed reverse jam in the final round. He said he stuck with his game plan throughout the competition.

“(Trency) had some nice dunks,” he said. “I knew I was going to go out there with my little routine and it worked, I guess, because he missed his dunks.”

After the contest was over, Jackson treated fans to an extra dunk.

Sophomore guard Percy Blade took a basketball and went into the second level of the crowd. Jackson waited at the three-point line as Blade tossed the ball from the crowd.

The ball bounced once off the floor and Jackson grabbed it with his left hand, brought the ball back behind his head and finished the dunk with force.

Jackson said he wasn’t disappointed in losing the dunk contest. He said it just felt good to be out there in front of a crowd and that he can’t wait to be eligible to take part in regular-season action.

“It’s the rules but I’m just glad to be out there in front of a crowd,” Jackson said.

The Toppers will take the floor the first time as a team on Nov. 2 when Campbellsville University rolls into Bowling Green for an afternoon exhibition game.