So, the Easter holiday is coming up (and if you do not celebrate yourself, a happy Sunday to you)! As the day approaches, one thing that many think of with this holiday is the Easter Bunny. Now, while the Easter Bunny cannot jump too high to save his energy to deliver all the children’s baskets, the following individuals do not have such limitations. Whether you want to call them hops, bunnies, or what have you, I thought this was a prime opportunity to discuss this. Without further ado, then, here some of the best players with hops in Wisconsin sports history!
Bucks: Pat Connaughton
Who better to start with than Pat Connaughton, who was most recently able to show off his hops during the 2020 NBA Dunk Contest. Not only does Connaughton seem to have springs for legs, but he is also a multi-sport success story. Drafted in both the 2nd round of the NBA Draft and 4th round of the MLB Draft, Connaughton had a decision to make regarding his future in 2014 and 2015. Planet Pat, however, did decide to go the basketball route and it has paid off thus far, as he has ended up on one of the best teams in the NBA.
We’re here to talk about his jumping, though, and he has that in spades. His 44-inch max vertical leap at the 2015 NBA combine tied for the second-highest ever in the event’s history. It showed off his impressive athleticism and may have contributed heavily to his being selected in that year’s draft. Not to mention his aforementioned Dunk Contest performance, and you’ve got a case of one of the best jumpers Wisconsin sports has ever seen.
Honorable mention: Desmond Mason
CBB: Keifer Sykes (UW-Green Bay, 2011-2015)
On the opposite end of the height spectrum but not lacking in the hops, we have Keifer Sykes. The diminutive dynamo, at 5’11”, came onto the UWGB campus in the fall of 2011 and made his presence known. Not only did he become a Day 1 starter for the Phoenix, but he was also the youngest player in the nation, not having even turned 18 before his first game. Becoming a first-team Horizon League player by his sophomore season, Sykes would make a name for himself as a junior, throwing down a massive slam against Wisconsin. During his senior year, he would also compete in the NCAA Slam Dunk Contest at that year’s Final Four, finishing second in the process.
Honestly, there is not much I can say that can do some of the things Sykes did on the court justice. For that, I would suggest you watch the video above.
Brewers: Lorenzo Cain (2010; 2018-present), Keon Broxton (2016-2018), Carlos Gomez (2010-2015)
What do these three gentlemen have in common? Well, for Cain and Gomez, they are both All-Stars and Gold Glove winners in a Brewers uniform. Their tenures with Milwaukee also strongly intersect, as can be seen above. Over all else, though, they all have a thrilling tendency to make highlight-reel catches at the wall, often in high-pressure situations. Look no further than Gomez’s BA-coined “game-saver” against Joey Votto and Cincinnati in 2013. How about Lorenzo Cain’s thrilling snag for the final out of the last Opening Day with fans (until now) in 2019? Hopefully, we can see more from Cain in this regard in 2021.
There you have it! Some of the best jumpers in Wisconsin sports history, and who knows who will continue to amaze in the future and who will come along. Until then, enjoy the return of baseball and the holiday to come.