A youthful dunkfest
If you thought the dunk contest at the NBA All-Star Game weekend was a bit lacking this year, McKale Center would’ve provided a nice consolation prize on Wednesday night.
Five young boys dominated a toy rim during a halftime dunk contest, throwing down vicious slams with a small toy ball.
One boy did a 360-tomahawk; one botched a between-the-legs attempt.
Then Tavion Okougbo took his turn, and the 6-year-old brought the house down.
The house, and the backboard.
Tavion pulled off a Jordan-esque flight, wagging tongue included, for a punishing dunk, before sending the rim to its room without supper. In a poll of the fans, he got the loudest applause.
The young Dominique Wilkins watched the NBA’s pedestrian dunk contest for some ideas. Through missing front teeth, he said his favorite player is LeBron James.
But asked if he liked the Los Angeles Clippers’ thunderous Blake Griffin, he just shook his head.
One dunk contest win, he’s already getting a big head.
And speaking of…
Staying on topic, Arizona superfan Phyllis Goodman finally got a big head of her own Wednesday night.
The Zona Zoo honored the longtime supporter, whom the Star profiled in late January, with a big poster sign. Goodman’s in good company: In addition to the familiar player heads – and Sean Miller’s – there was the familiar Furby and Ben Stiller from “Dodgeball.”
Valentine’s Day leftovers
As former Arizona coach Lute Olson walked by press row on Wednesday night, Bill Walton let the legendary Wildcat know what he thought of him.
Good things, apparently, considering Walton blew kisses at Olson.
Up close and personal
A female fan was all smiles midway through the first half on Wednesday as Nick Johnson came flying into the premium courtside seating on the Cal side, diving for a loose ball.
Both player and spectator were fine, and no popcorn was reported stolen.
Tweet of the night
“ ‘There’s a highway in Arizona that is named after Jerry Garcia — our fallen leader.’ ” — Bill Walton” – CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein).
In the penultimate home game of the season, it appeared the Zona Zoo wanted to go out in style. Costumes were on full display, and not just the usuals like Gumby and the dancing watermelon. Students also dressed as Buzz Lightyear, the Michelin Man and Chewbacca.
17 Arizona crashed the boards with regularity on Wednesday, owning the glass against Cal. The Wildcats had 42 rebounds to just 25 for the Bears, a difference of 17.
Sights and sounds
Arizona honored former athletic director Cedric Dempsey, who was in attendance, on Wednesday night. … Maybe half a dozen times this season, Arizona has been in ESPN.com’s main box. The Wildcats were again a prime story with their rematch against Cal. … A pair of fans turned long balloons into a giant “B-I-L-L” to celebrate Walton, who called another of the Wildcats’ games for ESPN.