Week 3 of the SlamBall season proved to be truly unforgettable, featuring the sport’s inaugural triple-double, the first overtime this season, a team achieving their first victory, and another extending their winning streak to a dozen games. The historic triple-double belonged to stopper Gage Smith (Elizabeth, Colo.) of the 12-0 Mob, who was named Defensive Player of the Week for a second time (Week 1). Gunner Jihad Shockey (Columbus, Ohio), who sparked the Lava’s first two first wins of the season, takes home Offensive Player of the Week honors. Smith and Shockley are joined on the All-SlamBall Week 3 team by Wrath gunner Ty McGee (Littleton, Colo.), Slashers handler Tony Crosby II (Long Beach, Calif.) and Lava stopper Faysal Shafaat (Orlando, Fla.). The Lava’s Josh Carlson (Phoenix, Ariz.) was chosen as Coach of the Week.
In the Main Event win over the Buzzsaw on Saturday, Smith manufactured the first triple-double in SlamBall history, collecting 10 points, 11 stops and 16 loose ball recoveries. Smith hit double digits in points in dramatic fashion by executing a fourth-quarter “McNasty” (360-degree, between-the-legs throwdown) on a Face Off. It was a maneuver that he had never practiced before attempting it in the game. Smith also finished Saturday’s session with a “triple-20” – 22 points, 21 stops and 23 LBRs in the two wins. During the Mob’s 4-0 week, Smith rejected 36 shots, made 45 loose ball recoveries (LBR), scored 40 points and was 13-of-17 from the field. “I think when the season is done, Gage will be considered one of the greatest SlamBall players of all time,” said Brendan Kirsch, who has been the Mob’s coach since 2002.
Shockley was the catalyst for the Lava’s initial two victories of the season on Sunday, scoring 49 total points. In the 61-43 win over the Rumble, he was responsible for the Lava’s first 15 points, finishing with a season-high 26. He chipped in 20.3 points per game in Week 3 after averaging just 9.3 PPG in the season’s first two weeks. He was 18-of-22 on rim attacks and contributed 13 LBRs in the Lava’s three Week 3 contests.
Last Friday, McGee became the first player this season to score 30 or more points twice in a single session, putting up 34 in a win over the Lava and 31 in a Main Event triumph over the Gryphons. For the week, he averaged 27.3 PPG, threw down 24 dunks, recovered 14 loose balls, and made nine hits. He also made the Week 1 All-SlamBall team, when he was named Offensive Player of the Week.
Crosby averaged 20.3 PPG in three appearances last week, while also being credited with 17 dunks, 10 assists, 13 LBRs and 15 hits. He had his second game with 30-plus points this season, tallying 31 in a win over the Ozone last Thursday. Crosby also made the All-SlamBall squad last week.
Shafaat was a defensive force in the Lava’s two wins on Sunday, stopping 20 shots and coming up with 19 loose balls while also scoring 13 points. He nearly notched a triple-double in Sunday’s Main Event against the Ozone, registering 10 points, 11 stops and eight LBRs. Last week, he made 31 stops and 21 LBRs. For the season, he leads SlamBall in stops per game (9.6) and ranks fourth in LBRs per contest (6.6).
Carlson did not let the Lava wilt despite opening the season with five straight losses, all by five or fewer, points, and having first overall pick Bryce Moragne available for just two full games. The Lava erupted for their first two wins of the season on Sunday, beating the Rumble and Ozone by 58 combined points. The Lava are the only team other than the Mob (+329) with a positive point differential (+40) this year.
Other players with notable Week 3 performances: Mob’s Darius Clark (61 points in the Mob’s four wins), Gryphons’ KyShawn Jones (37- and 29-point games last Friday), Ozone’s Keith McGee (34 points in win over Wrath on Sunday), Wrath’s Darion Slade (33 points, 17 LBRs, 10 assists and eight hits last week) and Buzzsaw’s Tyquan Scott (23 stops, 37 LBRs last week).
All-SlamBall Team – Week 3
Gunner Jihad Shockley, Lava (Offensive Player of the Week)
Gunner Ty McGee, Wrath
Handler Tony Crosby II, Slashers
Stopper Gage Smith, Mob (Defensive Player of the Week)
5th Man Faysal Shafaat, Lava
Coach Josh Carlson, Lava