ELMHURST, Ill. – It was already going to be an impressive play, but an Elmhurst University basketball player was about to create a viral moment in 2022-2023.
Bluejays senior guard and Schiller Park native Ocean Johnson shattered the backboard on a dunk on Saturday night in a game against North Park University at R.A. Faganel Hall.
“I just went up for a normal dunk, and the next thing you know, I hear the glass shatter and I was on the ground,” said Johnson to WGN News Now this week.
With 4:46 to go in the second overtime, junior guard Tagen Pearson sent a pass into the lane for Johnson, who broke free from the defender and went up for a slam. Just after completing the slam, the rim pulled off the backboard and it shattered completely as the guard hit the floor.
Glass scattered around the paint as the rest of the players did the same with Johnson trying to get out from under the hoop as fast as he could. The guard said that he had a sore back and a sore arm and was cut a little bit, but was able to continue with the game.
“It was crazy,” said Johnson. “It just happened so fast.”
What did happen quickly was the replacement of the backboard, which came in that second overtime with Elmhurst leading by two. It took an hour and a half to get the new backboard in place to finish the game, which was won by North Park 93-90.
Thanks to social media, Johnson, who scored 19 points in the game, was already hearing about the moment during the delay of the game.
“All my old AAU coaches and my high school coaches, they were all like texting me during the game because we had an hour and thirty (minute) break,” said Johnson. “I checked my phone and it was blowing up.”
A high school standout at Leyden, Johnson began his career at Loras College before arriving at Elmhurst University for the 2020-2021 season. He started 31 games for the Bluejays last season when the advanced to the Division III national championship game in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
This season, Ocean is averaging 14 points and 6.5 rebounds a game in 24 contests in which he started all but one.
You can see this backboard-shattering moment and hear from Johnson about in Larry Hawley’s report for WGN News Now in the video above.