‘Thundered’

3 years after learning to play basketball, high school baller scores devastating dunk to topple rivals

Regis Jesuit High School basketball player Fran Belibi. (Twitter)

A high school senior who first learned to play basketball just three years ago has become one of the sport’s most exciting and sought-after prospects — as well as the first Colorado high school girl to ever dunk a basketball in a game. Fran Belibi, a daughter of immigrants from Cameroon, is not just a force on the hardwood. She’s impressive in the classroom as well, with a 4.0 GPA and dreams of becoming a doctor one day. Belibi stunned coaches at the Regis Jesuit school when she tried out for the varsity team as a freshman. At age 15, she had never played the sport and was only vaguely aware of its rules. But when the 6-foot-1 teenager took off during tryouts and casually threw down a dunk, she left coaches and classmates alike in awe of her natural ability. Barely able to dribble or pass, let alone shoot, she endured growing pains on the varsity squad.

But Belibi, a persistent worker on and off the court, soon proved that she was capable of mastering every element of the game. By age 16, she was averaging a double-double, making appearances on SportsCenter’s Top Plays, and garnering invitations to play for USA Basketball. As a senior this year, Belibi is averaging 23.4 points, 15.0 rebounds and 2.4 steals a game for her undefeated Regis Jesuit team. And on Wednesday night, in a matchup against the team that sent her school home in the Class 5A state championship game last spring, Belibi threw down 32 points and a stunning slam dunk that electrified a packed gym of spectators into screams of joy and applause.

“She stole it from a 6-8 kid, took four dribbles and she went up and thundered on that little kid,” recalled Regis Jesuit basketball coach Carl Mattei. “I was calling timeout as fast as I could because the place exploded. There were parents on the court. The referee got knocked down. It gave me goosebumps.”

In May, Belibi accepted a scholarship offer to play at Stanford University. Her first priority, she says, is to work to become a doctor. But Mattei, for one, says he hopes that Belibi continues to pursue the game to the extent of her abilities.

“She always has the medical career to fall back on if she gets hurt or she falters, but I hope she doesn’t limit herself,” said the coach. “God gave her a gift. I’m hoping she ends up the best doctor in the world, but before she does that, I’d also love to see her at five Olympics winning gold medals. I think she has that kind of potential.”

Read the full story at Yahoo News.

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