The memories are fresh, though the stories are 5 years old, from when both Andrew Rogers and Demetrius Houston were barely teenagers.
It was the genesis of what’s become their calling card to area basketball fans and what brings shivers to area goals.
They were both 13 and goofing off, yet with stern determination, when their adolescent dreams were realized.
They finally dunked.
“I had been trying forever, got mad and finally dunked,” Rogers said. “But I was by myself when I did it.
“I wouldn’t wait to show everybody else.”
Rogers, now at St. Jude, and Houston, now at G.W. Carver, are both seniors today, both prolific in their basketball exploits and particularly masterful at their slams.
All will be on display this week at the Acadome in the AHSAA Central Regional.
“After my first one, all I wanted to do was keep dunking, and I didn’t want to stop,” Houston said. “After that, I didn’t want to shoot any more jump shots.”
Both have an impressive repertoire, though fans don’t see the nastiest because, as Rogers put it, you don’t get an in-game bonus for style.
Wins are what matter.
But their arsenals include wrapping the ball between their legs while in midair or catching it off a bounce and sending it home. It’s nothing that would elicit 10s at Saturday’s NBA slam dunk competition, but these aren’t NBA players, either.
Both admit watching video of their favorite NBA stars in search of a better dunk.
Rogers said he takes time each day for a little dunk practice, too. Do you think St. Jude’s goals dread seventh-period PE?
Rogers, an Alabama A&M signee, regularly checks out NBA dunk mixes and emulates Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors. Houston, who is going to Mississippi State, has similar tactics.
“I always want to do what LeBron does,” Houston said. “His dunks are so powerful. I also go old school and watch Vince Carter highlights.”
Both say they have admired the other’s ability. From up close, too.
When Jude and Carver played last month, Rogers outdunked Houston 3-2, though each added an assortment of layups, finger rolls and jumpers. Carver won 60-53.
“I like watching him dunk, just not against us,” Rogers said. “I think he’s probably the only player in the city who dunks more than me.”
But who is better?
“Of course, I’m going to say me,” Houston joked.
Said Rogers: “I’ll let you be the judge of that.”