MACON, Ga. — One month after the final game of his prep basketball career, Oliver Gerard slipped on his black and gold Alcovy uniform and stepped on a court to represent the Tigers on Saturday afternoon.
The senior was one of three players from across the state who were selected to compete in the GHSA’s inaugural slam dunk contest at the Macon Centreplex. Gerard excelled in the spotlight, showcasing his vertical with a collection of electrifying dunks en route to earning a second-place finish in the event.
Jeff Davis senior Ja’Queze Kirby, a 6-foot-6 power forward, won the competition. Micah Bell, a 6-foot-3 junior from Chapel Hill, finished behind Gerard in third place.
“It was fun,” Gerard said. “It was fun talking to [the other contestants] and it was a very chill vibe.”
An outpour of support from family, friends and local admirers played an instrumental role in Gerard receiving enough votes to be a state finalist. Fittingly, the 6-foot-4 combo forward had a caravan of supporters in attendance rooting for him Saturday.
“It feels like everybody loves me, really,” he said. “A lot of my family came, a lot of my friends came, my friends’ parents came. So, yeah, there’s just a lot of love in the building.”
Gerard paid homage to NBA legend Vince Carter in the opening round by slamming the ball in with his right arm and hanging from the rim by the pit of his elbow. He received 53 points from the panel of judges, placing him just behind the 55-point totals of Kirby and Bell.
Gerard’s most impressive slam of the afternoon came in the second round. Standing at the free-throw line, he lobbed the ball off the backboard and took two steps toward the rim. He then leapt forward and ripped the ball from the air before twisting his body and landing a reverse windmill dunk.
“That was a nice one,” he said later, his smile widening with pride. “I’ve been working on that one. That’s the one I’ve been working on the most.”
Gerard carried a 112-109 lead over Kirby into the final round, but the Jeff Davis product took home the top prize after pulling off a reverse pump dunk to close out the event.