Skill of the Week: Dunking with Jay Couisnard

Kevin Bryce

Senior Jay Couisnard hasn’t been dunking as long as his skill gives him credit for. He has notched alley-oops, a 360 double pump and a recent And-1 dunk.

“I don’t know why the dude jumped,” Couisnard said of the And-1, “but he jumped with me and I was already right up above the rim so I just busted on him real bad Carmelo Anthony-style.”

Though Couisnard has become the go-to man for a show on the court, he’s really only been dunking since last season.

In high school, the Houston native was only about 6 feet tall. And even after a late growth spurt his senior year, he still didn’t have a dunk in him for his career at the University of Evansville on account of bad knees. But all that changed when he transferred to UMKC.

“My knees finally stopped hurting by the grace of God,” Couisnard said. “And we were working out and I started realizing that my hand was getting close to the rim and I was amazed.”

Couisnard’s first dunk really wasn’t until last season, and now this season he’s finding his groove.

Couisnard explained it’s all about the jump.

“You’ve got to get your feet ready to jump,” Couisnard said, “The second thing you do is just get up as high as you can no matter the situation.”

The dunk is not as straightforward as most other skills, and can vary from person to person, Cousinard explained.

Some people need more room for the run up to gain momentum in their jump, while others can simply explode straight up. Couisnard, the No. 15 jersey, falls more into the second category.

Couisnard explained that in a game situation you can usually see a dunk coming depending on the speed of the opponent in a fast break or your position in regards to the rim.

“I would say about 75 percent of the time you can see it coming and the other 25 percent is just instinct or making a special play,” Couisnard said.

On a fast break, Couisnard explained that a lob for the dunk is always the first option. He included that senior guard Bakari “BK” Lewis is a key asset in a dunk or alley-oop. It was Lewis who assisted Couisnard’s And-1.

“BK saw it was a fast break and he knew I could dunk the ball,” Couisnard said. “He actually didn’t throw a lob, he threw the ball quick so I could make my own play. I caught it with no dribble and just exploded up.”

Couisnard said a lot of his dunking motivation comes from his family. His younger cousin, Elijah Johnson, plays for the University of Kansas and Couisnard is trying to keep up with all of Johnson’s dunks.

“The last dunk that I saw my little cousin do was the windmill, so that’s going to be my next one,” he said. “I’m going try to get the between the legs 360 he does, but I don’t know if I can get that yet.”

Couisnard included with a laugh that his older brothers are all about the dunks in games.

He said one of his older brothers wanted to see a dunk and, “matter of fact he called me yesterday and said the next two dunks I had to do was the windmill and the 360 double pump,” Couisnard said.

While success is Couisnard’s top priority, his newly gained ability to dunk has added a little extra flavor.

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