Bowling Green, Kentucky (E.A. Diddle Arena) – In an evening dubbed as the â€œ[tag]Hilltopper Hysteria[/tag]â€, former [tag]Ateneo Blue Eagle[/tag] [tag]Japeth Aguilar[/tag] bested fellow newcomers [tag]Desire Gabou[/tag] and [tag]Jeremy Evans[/tag] and junior [tag]Mike Walker[/tag] to rule the [tag]Western Kentucky University[/tag] (WKU) [tag]slam dunk contest[/tag] in front of more three thousand cheering fans.
The 6’9″ Japeth Aguilar put excitement to the show by bringing home a difficult one-handed slam where he placed his entire forearm through the rim. He capped off the contest and the title with a baseline two-handed windmill dunk.
The festivity marks the fourth straight season wherein the Western Kentucky University basketball program participated in Midnight Madness activities. Both the menâ€™s and womenâ€™s teams were introduced to the crowd and included not only a slam dunk competition but also a three-point shooting contest and short scrimmages for both teams.
Western Kentucky is a Division I school in the [tag]US NCAA[/tag] and plays in the [tag]Sun Belt Conference[/tag]. The varsity will play five games against NCAA Tournament participants from last season in its first 11 contests of 2006-07. WKU has posted a 45-17 (72.6%) record the past two seasons, advancing to the National Invitation Tournament each time. The [tag]Hilltoppers[/tag] won the Sun Belt Conference East Division title for the first time since 2002-03 last season, and have won 19 of their last 23 league contests. The Hilltoppers’ coach is [tag]Darrin Horn[/tag] who guided the school to 60 wins in 90 games in 3 seasons. The main players of the Hilltoppers varsity is 6-5 junior swingman [tag]Courtney Lee[/tag], 6-6 senior [tag]Benson Callier[/tag], and 6-3 junior guard [tag]Ty Rogers[/tag].
Japeth is not on the official 2006-07 roster of the Hilltoppers. He will sit out the season because of transfer rules and will have 2 years of eligibility remaining. Coach Horn has this say of Japeth: “We are excited to have Japeth joining our program,â€ said Horn. â€œHe brings us good size and the ability to block shots on the defensive end. Offensively, he has great versatility because of his ability to play facing the basket. The fact that Japeth will be in our program for one year before being eligible will only enhance his development.”
Japeth is aiming to become the first Filipino to play in the [tag]NBA[/tag]. We wish you luck Japeth!
Japeth Aguilar’s WKU Hilltopper scouting report:
“Looking Back: The first Filipino-born basketball player ever to sign with a Division I program … As a sophomore at Ateneo de Manila University, Aguilar averaged 5.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.2 blocked shots per contest to help lead the Blue Eagles to an 11-5 finish in 2005 … Scored in double digits on three occasions, while he just missed a double-double twice after posting nine points and a career-best 10 boards in Ateneoâ€™s season opener as well as 10 points and eight rebounds later in the year in a win over Far Eastern University … Shot 55.4 percent (36-of-65) on the season, and he was credited with multiple blocks in 12 of the Blue Eaglesâ€™ 16 games â€” that included a career high of seven as well as two other contest with five or more … He led the Universities Athletic Association of the Philippines in rejections his sophomore season … Saw limited action as a freshman at Ateneo due to appendicitis, but still managed to score 11 points, grab 11 rebounds and block 10 shots in only 51 minutes of action … On the international level, Aguilar is expected to be part of the Philippine National Team as it attempts to qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing …Aguilarâ€™s father, Peter, was a longtime player in the Philippine Basketball Association … Attended the Reedley International School prior to his two seasons at Ateneo.”
Japeth’s dunk video clips:
The clips are not high quality but at least we get to see how Japeth executed his dunks at the WKU midnight madness. All his 5 dunks are shown here, including the misses. Without a doubt, the best dunk he executed here was the third dunk wherein he placed his entire forearm inside the rim (how’s that Vince Carter!), although he could have elicited more applause and made it more exciting if he hung unto rim longer (but I think the forearm already hurts, right Japeth?)
Special thanks to Condray of the Hilltoppers’ message board for sharing these video clips and pictures.
Updates on Japeth Aguilar could be found from the school website: