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BRIEF: Kai Johnson highlight dunk enters the SportsCenter Top 10 plays

WWU guard alley-oops himself and scores 23 points in the win against Western Oregon

Vikings guard Kai Johnson makes SportsCenter Top 10 for his self alley-oop dunk off the backboard during Western Washington University’s game against Western Oregon University on Feb. 3, 2024 in the New PE building. The Vikings won 78-62, making their season record 13-9. // Photo courtesy of WWU Athletics YouTube page

Vikings guard Kai Johnson added a SportsCenter Top 10 clip to his impressive stat line in Western Washington University’s away game against Western Oregon University on Feb. 3, 2024.

Along with his self alley-oop dunk, the leading individual Great Northwest Athletic Conference scorer added a 23-point game in the Vikings 78-62 victory.

Johnson has stepped into his role as a scorer this season, coming off averaging 12.9 points per game in 2022-23. He is now averaging 22.2 points per game with a 53.4% field goal percentage. 

“He has really embraced his role as far as being a leader and a scorer,” said Western men’s basketball Head Coach Tony Dominguez. “He has stepped up his mental game and ability to lead.”

The highlight dunk came at the 9:48 mark in the second half. Johnson pump faked a mid-range jumper, losing his defender, then proceeded to pass to himself off the backboard and dunk on another Western Oregon defender.

Kai Johnson goes up and under, off the backboard and throws it down in Western Washington’s away victory against Western Oregon University on Saturday, Feb. 3. The play made SportsCenter top 10 and provided momentum for the Vikings. // Video courtesy of WWU Athletics YouTube page

The play brought every Viking player out of their seats on the bench.

“That's not always a play that coaches embrace,” Dominguez said. “But it worked out well and gave us momentum so we just kind of rolled with it. … It helped our swag.”

The dunk was recognized by ESPN SportsCenter as the number three top play in their Top 10 highlight segment. This was the second time in the past three years that a men’s basketball team member has made the national media stage. D’Angelo Minnis drained a half court buzzer beater for the win over Montana State University Billings to earn the SportCenter number one play on Feb. 17, 2022.

Johnson also made his talent felt on the defensive side of the game, notching nine total rebounds and three steals. 

“[Johnson] is a very hard worker who can score in a variety of ways. He is also a tough defender and rebounder,” Dominguez said. “He is an all around very good player.”

The Vikings will face off against Alaska Fairbanks in Fairbanks, Alaska on Thursday, Feb. 15.

Nate Landi

Nate Landi is a senior at Western Washington University and a campus reporter for The Front. He is a journalism major and is very interested in sports and local news. You can reach him directly at

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