Belle Vernon’s Pohlot takes part in national slam dunk competition

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Thursday, February 13, 2020 | 6:46 PM


When Mitchell Pohlot rises to meet the rim for slam dunk, his thought process is simple.

“I usually don’t think much, but I tell myself to get up there and finish the dunk, regardless of what is happening” said Pohlot, a 6-foot-5 senior forward at Belle Vernon. “The end result will be satisfying because the crowd will get rowdy.”

Pohlot’s dunking prowess has him in a national competition.

After two of his rim-rocking jams were featured on Hudl’s weekly “Top 5 Unbelievable Dunks” — on separate weeks — Pohlot gained some notoriety.

He received an email asking for a highlight video of him dunking, so he submitted one.

Before Pohlot knew it, he was a finalist for the American Family Insurance High School Slam Dunk Championship, a fan vote-fueled, four-week competition that pits high school dunkers head-to-head in brackets.

Sixteen players are featured in the “digital media” contest. There also is a 3-point challenge, but Pohlot is not involved in that.

Fans can vote here.

The player with the most votes in each matchup will move on to the next round.

Voting for the four-round competition began Tuesday and concludes March 13.

Pohlot has brought Belle Vernon fans to their feet on several occasions. He and teammate Thomas Hepple both have provided fast-break slams, some sparked by open-court passes from sophomore standout Devin Whitlock.

“Personally, my dunks change the momentum of the game,” he said.

“I get the crowd rowdy, and I get excited. Especially since Belle Vernon has been without someone who could dunk for years now. I like to show this side of my game. It makes me a threat to opponents, in my opinion.”

The top vote-getter, or the last dunker standing, will advance to the American Family Insurance High School Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships held at the NCAA Final Four in Atlanta.

The event will air on CBS at 2:30 p.m. April 5.

Voting schedule

First round — Now through 1 p.m. Tuesday (16 players)

Quarterfinals — 1 p.m. Wednesday through 1 p.m. Feb. 26 (eight players)

Semifinals — 1 p.m. Feb. 27 through 1 p.m. March 5 (four players)

Finals — 1 p.m. March 6 through 1 p.m. March 13 (two Players)

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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