Sure, Meyers Leonard was relatively productive during his two seasons in Champaign, but the 7-footer didn't exactly leave an indelible imprint at the University of Illinois. It probably isn't his fault. Bruce Weber's motion offense was never designed to get the big man touches; even when it was run to peak efficiency, Weber's Fighting Illini teams would always be dominated by three-guard play. During the last few seasons of Weber's reign, it's not anything at all was running smoothly for the Illini.
Leonard posted nice numbers during his sophomore campaign for a decidedly underwhelming Illinois team, averaging 13.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. But did Meyers Leonard ever have a signature game for Illinois? Even a singularly memorable moment? Nothing comes to mind immediately. In fact, whenever someone asks me about Leonard -- who's projected as a likely lottery pick in tonight's 2012 NBA Draft -- the first thing that comes to mind is a dunk from his high school days in rural central Illinois.
This is one of the great plays you'll see by teenaged big man.
Knock that incredible coast-to-coast, jumping-over-some-kid dunk for coming against puny little central Illinois high schools. For all we know, Leonard had seven inches on the next tallest player on the court that night. Even still, there are very few human beings alive who could complete that type of ridiculous athletic feat, including plenty that couldn't even dream about it who cash NBA paychecks.
Caucasian big men often (correctly) characterized as slow and plodding, but Leonard is not of the same ilk. He was cut from another cloth, likely one that was sent here from another planet. The dude is unfathomably athletic for a legit 7-footer. I have no idea if he'll pan out in the NBA, but a ceiling this high will be awfully tempting for plenty of NBA general managers tonight.