SUMMERVILLE - Chattooga High School senior basketball standout Jay Shropshire is used to people staring as he throws down one of his favorite dunks. He's heard "oohs" after a windmill, "aahs" after a 360 and "wows" after what he calls his "back-scratcher" dunk where he reaches the ball back behind his head. The dunks he's preparing for now, though, will be different.
"People that's going to be there, the cameras on me," said Shropshire wish a sigh. "Just real nervous."
Shropshire is getting ready to compete in the American Family Insurance High School Slam Dunk Championships. The competition is in Phoenix on Friday. That's the site of this year's Final Four. The competition will air on CBS on Sunday, the day between the semifinals and national championship game.
"I know my momentum will be high, my adrenaline," said Shropshire. "There's no telling what I might do."
Shropshire might be one of the shortest dunkers in the field, checking in at 6'1. He calls that both a disadvantage and an advantage, since judges might be more impressed with what he's able to do.
"I know he's going to rise to the occasion, come through and make us all proud. I like his chances of winning," said Chattooga basketball coach Jared Groce.
Shropshire got into the contest thanks to a lot of community support -- and a lot of clicks. The senior won a fan voting contest to get the final spot in the dunk competition, and credits his school and town with doing the legwork ... or, thumb-work. The voting also had a wrinkle: you could vote just once per day, per device.
"People were getting old phones out of their drawers, computers, iPads, laptops," said Groce. "They got the job done."
Shropshire says he's nervous and excited; but his main goal is to get some exposure. He's still hoping to earn a college basketball scholarship, and says he's much more of a player than just his dunking talent. Winning a big trophy would be nice as well, Shropshire said, adding, "I don't like to lose."