RALEIGH — Millbrook guard Carlee Clemons was asleep when the world took notice.
His phone started ringing around 2 a.m. June 7, but he didn’t hear the news until he woke up hours later.
Clemons had been featured on ESPN’s SportsCenter. Even more, he was ranked No. 2 on that day’s Top Plays.
“I never thought I’d be on SportsCenter ever, so it’s kind of a childhood dream, I guess,” Clemons said.
Clemons, a 6-foot rising senior, is known for his high-flying ability.
Those who have seen him in action say the dunk that landed him on SportsCenter wasn’t even his best highlight.
“As soon as I saw it, I thought, ‘I’ve seen Carlee do much better dunks than that,’” said Scott McInnes, the Millbrook boys basketball coach and athletics director.
“He’s done it over a 7-footer before, but I’ve never seen him do it in front of a big crowd,” Millbrook junior Josh Peacock said.
Clemons first performed the dunk over a teacher, Cheryl Boswell, during a 2012 pep rally as both Millbrook’s boys and girls basketball teams prepared to head to the state finals.
“The first time I did it was actually over a teacher, and she was short,” Clemons said. “She actually told me to do it. I didn’t think I could do it.”
This year, he gave the Millbrook student body one better, dunking over two of his teammates, 6-8 Rob Brown and 7-0 Jake Wilson at another pep rally.
His dunk earlier this month was over 6-8 Javis Howard and 6-7 Gary Clark at the Basketball Elite Southeast Summer Showcase at Forsyth Country Day School in Lewisville.
Before the dunk became the talk of online forums and was featured on ESPN, it won Clemons the event’s dunk contest title.
Clemons said he completed it on his first attempt, taking off just inside the free throw line before soaring over the players’ heads.
“I guess the adrenaline was running. ... I actually thought I jumped too far,” Clemons said. “I thought I wouldn’t make it.”
McInnes is very familiar with his player’s ability in the air.
“He has that gear where he’s going up and then all of a sudden somehow he just starts going higher,” McInnes said. “I don’t know how he does it. It’s just a gift. “
Though many are convinced that particular dunk isn’t his most impressive, Clemons said he puts it at No. 1.
“I think it has to be my best dunk just because it made SportsCenter and I was on TV,” he said.
The dunk has brought national attention not only from basketball fans, but also from college scouts, he said.
“I got a lot of love from everyone,” Clemons said. “I’m just blessed to have all these people that support me and are behind me. People called me a mini-celebrity, but I just try to not let it get to my head and try to stay humble.”