June 22, 2009
Charlotte, N.C. - Charlotte 49ers 6-7 forward Charlie Coley, III (Lake Worth, Fla.) was among five players taken by the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters in the team's third annual draft. Coley, who awed crowds with his amazing dunking ability, finished his two-year 49ers career second all-time with 102 career dunks.
Coley won back-to-back 49ers Slam Dunk contests at the 49ers annual Basketball Madness and finished as runner-up in the 2009 ESPN Slam Dunk Championship. Coley was featured in several game broadcasts with his variety of dunks that include windmill, tomahawk, breakaway and alley-opp jams. During the 49ers Slam Dunk contest, Coley jumped over 6-10 center Phil Jones for one dunk, over DiJuan Harris riding a stationary bike for another and over a chair set on a folding table.
This past year, Coley averaged 8.9 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds. He added 31 blocks along with his 55 dunks.
Coley was joined in the draft by Oklahoma senior Taylor Griffin, brother of expected #1 NBA draft choice Blake Griffin, ESPN slam dunk champion Tony Danridge, 2009 Patriot League Player of the Year Derrick Mercer and acrobatic U.S./Premier League goalkeeper Tim Howard.
"Globetrotters must be great athletes, great entertainers and outstanding citizens," said Globetrotters Coach Sweet Lou Dunbar. "We believe each of these individuals possess enough of those unique dynamics to merit our consideration to wear the red, white and blue."
Following is a recap of the Globetrotters' draft:
• Taylor Griffin is the older brother, and Oklahoma teammate, of consensus national player of the year, Blake Griffin. As a senior, Taylor Griffin was the Sooners' third-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder, helping propel Oklahoma to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. The 6-7 Oklahoma City native was a three-time second-team Academic All-Big 12 selection.
• Tony Danridge, hailing from San Bernardino, Calif., won the 2009 College Slam Dunk Championship while compiling three perfect scores of 50. A first-team All-Mountain West Conference selection as a senior at New Mexico, the 6-5 Danridge's highlight reel dunks and assortment of cupping windmill jams have become YouTube sensations.
• Charlie Coley, III finished second to Danridge in the Slam Dunk Championship by a single point in a dunk-off, after each had scored a perfect 50 in the final round. The 6-7 Charlotte 49er, raised in Lake Worth, Fla., not only sports a 40-inch vertical leap (he once dunked over a Nissan on a playground in Miami), but often wears an afro that harkens back to the days of Globetrotter legends.
• Derrick Mercer was named Patriot League Player of the Year and Honorable Mention All-American for his stellar play in the 2008-09 season. The 5-9 dynamo led American University to two straight NCAA tournaments, and the Jersey City, N.J. native is the only player in Patriot League history to record at least 1,200 career points and 500 career assists.
• Tim Howard is the top goalkeeper of the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team, as well as one of the best net-minders in the English Premier League, having led Everton FC to the 2009 FA Cup Final. He starred at North Brunswick High School, in his hometown of North Brunswick, N.J., in both soccer and basketball, where his scoring and leaping ability helped lead his school to the state finals his senior year. The 6-3 Howard is active in charitable efforts, as he is a past winner of the MLS Humanitarian of the Year award for his work with children with Tourette Syndrome - a condition which affects Howard personally - and is also involved in the organization Athletes in Action.
Each of these players will be extended an invitation to fall training camp to vie for the honor of joining the Globetrotters for their 84th consecutive season of touring the world.
Sponsored by Campbell Soup Company, IHOP, Spalding, and America's Best Contacts and Eyeglasses, the Original Harlem Globetrotters have played in 120 countries on six continents, entertaining over 130 million fans and crossing barriers between cultures, societies and people from all walks of life. The Globetrotters are one of only six teams to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. For the latest news and information about the Harlem Globetrotters, and to purchase team merchandise, visit the team's official Web site: www.harlemglobetrotters.com.