Few players in recent Tiger basketball history are more beloved than D.J. Stephens. It's obvious when the starting lineups are announced at FedExForum, where the ovations for number 30 are twice as long and much louder than those for any other player.
So, why this guy? Because he's got so much heart. Because he came seemingly from nowhere, a mediocre player from Kileen, Texas with severe asthma who has worked and worked until he earned a spot in the starting five. Because he has the rare ability to completely change the energy of a game with one shot. That, and because he has the insane and rare ability to hurdle just about anything (seven foot tall oponents, two rows of fans) from a near stand-still.
Alas, Stephens is a senior, and his last regular season game as a Tiger is (sadly) rapidly approaching. In honor of his last two games, I've put together a little greatest hits collection of D.J. Stephens' dunks.
Here he is, on February 23, jumping over a Souther Miss player (and sticking the landing).
And here he is, in the same game, sinking a perfet pass from Shaq Goodwin:
There's also this one, where D.J. dunks off of an in-bound pass and trots down the court like it's no big thing.
Or this one, simply titled "Memphis puts on a dunk show against Loyola".
In this clip from a 2011 game against Gonzaga, D.J. comes, as he so often does, out of nowhere to stuff the ball in the basket.
Here's his 100th career dunk:
His Dunk of the Year nomination against Xavier:
And, because I like to save the best for last, here's Stephens at Memphis Madness in October, straight flying over two of his teammates to sink a dunk during the dunk contest. Someone get that man a cape.
We'll miss you, D.J.