ATLANTA – Eureka's Dakota Bennington (Peoria, Ill./Peoria Christian) has been selected to participate in the "Dark Horse Dunker" competition.
And if he gets enough fan votes, he could get a chance to compete in the College Slam Dunk Championship at the Final Four in Atlanta this April.
Bennington will be part of 16-player field that is stacked with under-the-radar players from all levels of college basketball who possess the power, creativity and hops to compete against high-major stars in the Great Clips College Slam Dunk Championship.
Fans will determine the winner by voting daily at DarkHorseDunker.com throughout the four-week competition. There is a limit to one vote per device per calendar day for each head-to-head bracket matchup.
Intersport, producers of the State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships, announced on Tuesday that first-round voting for the 2020 "Dark Horse Dunker" competition will begin at 12 p.m. CT.
Video highlight reels of each competitor on the website will help fans determine their choice in a bracket-style competition on DarkHorseDunker.com. The athlete with the most votes in each matchup will move on to the next round. Voting begins Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET and concludes March 13 at 1 p.m. ET. The schedule for each voting round will go as follows:
•Round One: Feb. 11 at 12 p.m. CT through Feb. 18 at 12 p.m. CT (16 Players)
•Quarterfinals: Feb. 19 at 12 p.m. CT through Feb. 26 at 12 p.m. CT (8 Players)
•Semifinals: Feb. 27 at 12 p.m. CT through March 5 at 12 p.m. CT (4 Players)
•Finals: March 6 at 12 p.m. CT through March 13 at 12 p.m. CT (2 Players)
The player that ultimately receives the most votes in the final round will be selected to compete in the State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships, an event featuring some of the best college dunkers and 3-point shooters in the country. The 2020 State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships will be held at 7:30 p.m. ET on April 2 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, with ESPN airing the event in its entirety beginning at 9 p.m.
The following are the 16 "Dark Horse Dunkers" competing in the contest for their chance to showcase their talents in the State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships:
Dakota Bennington, Eureka College
Anthony Brown, Lincoln Memorial
Nate Bruneel, College of Idaho
Niquan Cousins, Bluefield College
Isaiah Crawley, Georgia Southern
Tulio Da Silva, Missouri State
Jhonathan Dunn, Southern Nazarene
Emanuel Egbuta, Tennessee State
Josh Hawley, Tarleton State
Danyon Hempy, College of Wooster
Isaiah Hill, Saint Leo University
Shaun Kirk, UNC Pembroke
Ryan Montgomery, Lee University
Wayne Stewart, Texas A&M Commerce
Tyree White, Louisiana Monroe
Darrion Willies, Oklahoma City University
Bennington has been thrilling Red Devil nation with his athleticism, skill and tenacity since he transferred from Olivet Nazarene more than two years ago. He has been selected SLIAC Player of the Week five times in the past two years, and was a first-team All-SLIAC selection in 2019, when the Red Devils made it to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time in school history.
He is currently leading the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in scoring with 24.5 points per game while shooting 52.7 percent from the field, 38.7 percent from distance and 78.6 percent from the free-throw line. He's also averaging 7.1 rebounds per game, is second in the league free throws (88 in 112 tries) and third in steals (41).
Bennington's emphatic jams during pre-game, in transition, off alley-oops and when opponents make the mistake of giving him a clear lane, have become staples of the Red Devils basketball experience.