College Slam Dunk Champ and baseball legend Mariano Rivera among other star athletes chosen
(PHOENIX, June 25, 2013) – Brittney Griner, one of the most decorated players in the history of women’s basketball, was among five athletes selected today in the seventh annual player draft of the world famous Harlem Globetrotters.
Joining the elite group of top athletes chosen by the Globetrotters were College Slam Dunk Champ Doug Anderson of the University of Detroit Mercy, NAIA All-American Tyrone Davis of Northwood University (Fla.), High Point University (N.C.) high-flyer Corey Law and baseball superstar Mariano Rivera.
“Brittney Griner is a great ambassador for the game of basketball and a terrific player. We fully support her WNBA career with the Phoenix Mercury,” said Harlem Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider. “Our North American tour runs from the end of December to the end of April, which would not conflict with the WNBA season. The Globetrotters already have two outstanding female stars in TNT Maddox and T-Time Brawner, so the transition to our roster would be seamless.
“And in the fourth quarter, when the Globetrotters need to close out a game, who better than the best closer of all-time? Mariano Rivera has made a living by finishing off opponents. We always have a place on our roster for winning athletes with that kind of mindset. His charitable work through the Mariano Rivera Foundation also embodies the spirit of the Globetrotters giving back to the community.”
Following is a full recap of the Globetrotters’ draftees:
• Brittney Griner was the number one overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft. In her debut with the Phoenix Mercury, she became the first player to ever dunk twice in a WNBA game. At Baylor University, the 6-8 Griner was one of the most outstanding players in women’s college basketball history, sweeping all major national awards her last two seasons (AP Player of the Year, Wade Trophy, Naismith Trophy, USBWA Player of the Year, Wooden Award). During those two seasons, the Houston native led the Bears to an incredible 74‐2 record, including a 40‐0 mark in Baylor’s 2012 national championship season. Griner finished her college career as the second all‐time leading scorer in Division I women’s basketball history and amassed an NCAA men’s and women’s record 748 blocks.
• Doug Anderson of the University of Detroit Mercy has won all five dunk contests in which he has ever competed, including the 2013 College Slam Dunk Championship, where he garnered perfect scores of 40 from the judges on each of his four dunks. Hailing from Kalamazoo, Mich., he led the Titans in field goal percentage and blocks as a senior and was third on the team in rebounding and steals. The 6-6 Anderson was a one-man highlight reel, as 46 percent of his field goals during his two seasons with the Titans were dunks, and he had the number one dunk on ESPN SportsCenter’s Top Plays on four different occasions.
• Tyrone Davis of Northwood University (Fla.) was a 2012-13 NAIA Division II All-American after leading the nation in assists per game at 7.86. The 5-2 guard from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., also led the Seahawks – where he played for legendary coach Rollie Massimino – with 2.3 steals a game, earning a spot on the Sun Conference All-Defensive Team to follow up his 2011-12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year campaign. Davis set the school record for career assists and steals before he even entered his senior season, a season in which he helped lead Northwood to a 30-4 record.
• Corey Law of High Point University (N.C.) competed in the College Slam Dunk Championships by beating out 15 other athletes to become the annual Dark Horse Dunker. Past Globetrotters draftees Jacob Tucker and James Justice followed similar paths to the competition. The 6-4 native of Chesapeake, Va., led High Point in field goal percentage as a senior and was third on the team in rebounding and blocks. Sporting a 44-inch vertical leap, Law finished his career second on the Panthers’ career rebounding list.
• Mariano Rivera is a five-time World Series Champion and 12-time All-Star. Hailing from the same city as Globetrotters star Special K Daley – Panama City, Panama – the future Hall of Famer has the most saves in Major League Baseball history and is among the league leaders in saves again this season. Owner of a World Series MVP award and several postseason records – including lowest earned run average and most saves – Rivera also gives back through the Mariano Rivera Foundation, which donates over half a million dollars a year to charities in the U.S. and his native Panama.
Other players selected in past Globetrotter drafts include current Globetrotters Anthony “Ant” Atkinson, the first ever Globetrotters’ draft selection and a college All-American and national champion; former Siena sharp-shooter Tay “Firefly” Fisher; dunking and ball handling sensation William “Bull” Bullard and 7-foot-8 Paul “Tiny” Sturgess, the Guinness World Record holder as the World’s Tallest Professional Basketball Player.
Sponsored by Wonderful Pistachios, Greyhound Lines, Spalding, Russell Athletic and Howard Johnson Hotels, the Original Harlem Globetrotters are celebrating their 87th consecutive year, continuing a world famous tradition of ball handling wizardry, basketball artistry, and one-of-a-kind family entertainment that continues to thrill fans of all ages. Throughout their history, the Globetrotters have showcased their iconic talents in 122 countries and territories on six continents, often breaking down cultural and societal barriers while providing fans with their first-ever basketball experience. Proud inductees of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Globetrotters have entertained hundreds of millions of fans—among them popes, kings, queens, and presidents—over more than eight thrilling decades.