Ask around, and you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who can recall Gary Ervin throwing down so much as a single dunk this year at the Metro Centre.
But when the six-foot Halifax Rainmen point guard’s name showed up on the list of entries for Saturday’s slam-dunk contest as part of Premier Basketball League all-star weekend at the Metro Centre, a little more digging revealed some surprises.
Apparently, Ervin has a hidden Nate Robinson flair.
“The person you’ve got to worry about is Gary Ervin,” said six-foot-eight power forward Eric Crookshank, whose soaring, two-handed jams dominated the Rainmen’s highlight reel this year.
“He’s a leaper … I’ve seen him in warmups and practice, and he can do everything I can do. He’s awesome.”
Ervin, Crookshank and wildcard entry Jevohn Shepherd, a six-foot-five small forward, are the Rainmen’s entries in the dunk contest, which also features four competitors from other teams.
Ervin said he’ll use Rainmen all-star guard Eric Gilchrese for one dunk and consider attempting a two-handed windmill and a 360.
“I definitely am a favourite,” Ervin proclaimed boldly. “Y’all just don’t know it yet. Y’all just haven’t seen me leap yet.”
But Ervin was quick to admit his pick to win is Shepherd, who powered his way to some of the most sensational dunks in Rainmen history.
No matter who emerges as champion, the contestants expect fans to be entertained.
“Everyone loves dunks,” Crookshank said. “When you go talk to kids at schools, they always say, ‘Can you dunk?’ It’s a great thing. I think it’s going to be awesome.”
Crookshank, Ervin, Gilchrese and small forward Desmond Ferguson will play for Team East in Sunday’s all-star game, while Gilchrese and Ferguson will be part of Saturday’s three-point contest.
The Rainmen’s frontmen were disappointed with their semifinal playoff demise and want to make up for it this weekend.
“We’ll win the all-star game, Shepherd will win the dunk contest, Dez will win the three-point contest and someone from our team will win MVP — it will be a sweep,” Ervin predicted.
“The playoffs are still a sour taste, but as long as you leave on the right note, that’s the biggest thing.”
Schedule for Premier Basketball League all-star weekend at the Metro Centre.
• Legends game, 5 p.m.
• Three-point challenge, 6:30 p.m.
• Slam-dunk contest, 7:15 p.m.
• All-star game, 3 p.m.