BISMARCK, ND — Devan Douglas boarded the plane for the State Farm College Slam Dunk Championships in Houston dressed in black sweats and Kevin Durant shoes, his signature goatee and a blue Marauders backpack filled with just the basics: “Clothes, dunking shoes, my orange Mary jersey, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, skin cream and Excedrin for the pain in my knees, that’s all I brought,” said Douglas, a senior guard for the University of Mary basketball team. “And an attitude.”

Devan Douglas relaxes before boarding his plane to Houston for the national State Farm Slam Dunk Championship

Devan Douglas relaxes before boarding his plane to Houston for the national State Farm Slam Dunk Championship

Before leaving Bismarck, he knew a good showing would help draw attention to small school athletes, the University of Mary, Bismarck, his hometown of Clinton, Iowa, and shorter athletes competing in big-time national competition.

Douglas doing a pre-dunk dribble workout for ESPN Cameras Courtesy of: Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images

Douglas doing a pre-dunk dribble workout for ESPN Cameras
Courtesy of:
Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images

Upon arrival, during dunk practice, the towering slam he appropriately calls the Take Off not only scored the highest vertical at 46.6″ by the sensor technology company Blast Motion, but wooed event coordinators Intersport and broadcasting personnel from ESPN.

Video of that powerful dunk quickly spread on social media, and by the next day Douglas had won over more fans — in the Berry Center arena and across the country — that would prove critical in the competition voting the next day.

As crowds lined up outside waiting to enter the center for the main event, Douglas would do it again — this time in the preliminary round of the Hot Shot skills competition. Paired with Yogi Ferrel, University of Indiana; and Rachel Banham, University of Minnesota, they would hit all consecutive shots in 14 seconds. Douglas capped it with a midcourt swish that sent the Associated Press Player of the Year, Denzel Valentine of Michigan State, and fellow competitors jumping with excitement from the bench.

Devan Douglas Skies Over Player for his first slam in the national State Farm College Slam Dunk Championship Courtesy of: Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images

Devan Douglas Skies Over Player for his first slam in the national State Farm College Slam Dunk Championship
Courtesy of:
Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images

Minutes later, the main event had arrived. Douglas was armed and ready with reverse slams, one-handed slams, and a 360-degree slam to clinch the title. The first dunk fired up the crowd as Douglas bounced the ball high for an alley-oop to himself and then jumped over IPFW basketball player Max Landis for the two-handed slam. The four celebrity judges scored his slam with nines for a total of 36, but the standing-room-only fans gave him 10s and then it went to a public vote on social media.

“I knew the Lord had my back so I just wanted to take some time to stretch a little bit and prepare for Him and the crowd an outstanding second dunk,” added Douglas.

University of Mary's Devan Douglas puts on a show at the State Farm College Slam Dunk Championship Courtesy of: Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images

University of Mary’s Devan Douglas puts on a show at the State Farm College Slam Dunk Championship
Courtesy of:
Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images

On the second dunk, Douglas didn’t want to leave anything to chance with his reverse slam.

“Yeah, my head nicked the rim a little bit, but that’s something I am used to,” said Douglas. “So I just wanted to go out there and show the crowd how athletic I am.”

The third dunk, and the one that elevated his head above the rim, drew the most oohs and ahs from the fans. The judges gave Douglas 10s across the board for a perfect score of 40.

“The third one was my favorite because I knew I was going to get up with all the adrenaline running through my body and I knew I was going to impress the crowd. I’ve done it before but this was my first time doing it off of two feet. I knew I did well when I heard the crowd roar.”

University of Mary's stands in the Mercedes Benz winners circle with his championship belt after being interviewed by ESPN Courtesy of: Steve Woltmann/Intersport

University of Mary’s stands in the Mercedes Benz winners circle with his championship belt after being interviewed by ESPN
Courtesy of:
Steve Woltmann/Intersport

With the competition worn out, Douglas found himself being congratulated by the contestants and being interviewed by ESPN in the Mercedes Benz winner’s corner.

“The contestants before me had already used some dunks I wanted to use, so my strategy was to jump as high as I could and show the crowd what I was made of,” said Douglas.

Devan Douglas Billboard

Devan Douglas Billboard

The next day, Douglas returned to cheering fans, students, faculty and Marauders boosters at the Bismarck Municipal Airport. In Bismarck he found his face on digital billboards around town.

University of Mary's Devan Douglas is welcomed home by Marauders at the Bismarck Airport. Here he poses for a photo with his Marauders teammates after winning the national State Farm College Championship

University of Mary’s Devan Douglas is welcomed home by Marauders at the Bismarck Airport. Here he poses for a photo with his Marauders teammates after winning the national State Farm College Championship

Douglas’ next highlight will come off the court when he walks across the stage to receive his diploma during University of Mary’s graduation ceremony, Saturday, April 30, 2 p.m. at the Bismarck Event Center.

Devan Douglas may have come to Houston with only a little more than the clothes on his back, but he left with much, much more – respect, and the State Farm College Slam Dunk Championship belt.