Illinois College graduate and Denny’s College Slam Dunk Contest champion Jacob Tucker was selected by the Harlem Globetrotters as part of the team’s 2011 draft class on Tuesday. Tucker was one of six players drafted by the legendary exhibition team.
“It’s definitely an honor because everybody knows who they are and I know all the good things they do besides just playing basketball,” Tucker said. “I’ve always wanted to be a part of something like that. I just need to look into the details of it before I agree to anything.”
In addition to Tucker, the Globetrotters selected Paul Sturgess, the tallest player in college basketball history at 7 feet, 8 inches. Two players that competed alongside Tucker at the 2011 State Farm College Slam Dunk and 3-point Championships were also drafted, as was international soccer superstar Lionel Messi. The Globetrotters also picked 12-year-old prodigy Jordan McCabe with a special “future discovery clause.”
“The first day of practice, we are going to have Jacob Tucker and Paul Sturgess go one-on-one,” Sweet Lou Dunbar, the Globetrotters’ director of player personnel, said in a press release. “A 5-foot-11 dunking machine against a 7-foot-8 tower of shot blocking has YouTube written all over it.”
The Globetrotters also selected Andrew Goudelock, from the College of Charleston, and Darnell Wilks, from the University of Cincinnati, on Tuesday. Goudelock won the 3-point contest and Wilks advanced to the semifinals of the dunk contest Tucker won on March 31 in Houston, Texas.
“I love all of the players we drafted this year,” Dunbar said.
After winning the Denny’s College Slam Dunk Contest in March, Tucker has been on a whirlwind tour, doing everything from competing in dunk contests and speaking at camps to shooting commercials and throwing out ceremonial pitches at St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago White Sox games.
“It’s been a lot of fun doing all those things,” Tucker said. “I’m very busy, but it’s a good busy. It’s been a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Tucker graduated from Illinois College with a double major in exercise science and management and organizational leadership in May. A four-year member of the men’s basketball team, who scored over 1,000 points during his collegiate career, Tucker helped Illinois College to a 16-8 record this winter. The Carlyle native led the Blueboys in rebounding (7.1 rpg) and steals (1.8 spg), while ranking second in scoring (14.8 ppg).