By: Nick Snow, Special to USA TODAY High School Sports | March 31, 2017
PHOENIX – When Collin Sexton stepped to the first rack in the finals of the Marines Men’s 3-point Championship at the American Family Insurance High School Slam Dunk and 3-Point Championship Friday at Phoenix’s Greenway High School, he wasn’t thinking about the pressure of being on national television or the fact that he won the slam dunk contest at the McDonald’s All-American game four days earlier.
For him, it was all about the money – as in the moneyball.
With a million-dollar smile and showmanship that only fed the already deafening crowd, the Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.) High School and Alabama recruit left everybody wanting more after hitting all five moneyballs and beating Norman (Okla.) North High School’s Trae Young 18-15 in the finals.
“I knew I had to make a whole bunch of shots,” Sexton said. “Hitting (the moneyball shots) was big because with those two points, if I didn’t hit those, I was going to lose. With the pressure from all the fans screaming, it was just a great event.”
Sexton started the competition slow, tallying 16 points in the first round while putting himself on the outside looking in when it came to the finals. But he turned it on in the second round with a score of 23, including hitting all five shots in his final rack in the corner.
“I felt like the second round was my round because I got a feel for the ball,” Sexton said. “I felt like if I was on the other end, I would have probably hit 27. I messed up in the second round because I went to the other side of a rack, but it was good.”
Sexton knew going in, the event was going to be a challenge. He came in as a bit of an underdog, overshadowed by Alex Barcello – who plays locally at Corona Del Sol High School in Phoenix.
But that quickly changed after the player introductions.
As soon as the fans witnessed his charisma, he had them eating out of his hand — even egging them on to be even louder in the final seconds of his 23-15 win in the Battle of Champions match against women’s 3-point champion Chasity Patterson.
“This was amazing,” Sexton said. “The fans here were amazing. Everybody was up cheering for the 3-pointers. It should give them a better show for the dunk contest.”
With his whirlwind of a week now over and two championships under his belt, Sexton is now focused on bringing that same excitement to Alabama and continuing to prove that he’s not just a one-dimensional scorer.
“I can do it all,” Sexton said, flashing his trademark smile. “I just want to show people that I can shoot as well as have the athleticism to dunk and do everything.”