Freshman Trey Phills wins Yale’s slam-dunk competition, and paves way to keep honoring his late basketball playing dad

By Joel Alderman

Phills easily won Yale's slam dunk contest. (Photo: YaleBulldogs.com)
Phills easily won Yale’s slam dunk contest. (Photo: YaleBulldogs.com)

Trey Phills, one of Yale’s highly touted freshman basketball prospects, stole the show at Thursday night’s Blue Madness at the Lee Amphitheater, which tapped off the 1915-16 season for the Bulldogs.

Listed on the roster at 6-2, Phills easily won the slam dunk contest (which you can see in the video above), highlighted by two monstrous slams, one of which came on a windmill dunk. It gave him the only perfect “10” in the event. The runner up was senior Nick Victor.

As pointed out on SportzEdge last May, when we confirmed that Phills was coming to Yale, he has a family name closely connected with basketball. He is the son of the late Bobby Phills, who played in the National Basketball Association with Cleveland and the original Charlotte Hornets in the 1990s. During his six years with the Hornets, he became a beloved local sports hero and community icon. The number 13, which he wore on his uniform, has been retired by the current Charlotte franchise.

13 is not just a number for Trey

Bobby Phills' son Trey, then 3, reaches out to touch his father's jersey while his grandfather, Bobby Phills Sr. holds him. The Charlotte Hornets retired the number during a ceremony in 2000, after Phills was killed in an auto accident. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Bobby Phills’ son Trey, then 3, reaches out to touch his father’s jersey while his grandfather, Bobby Phills Sr. holds him. The Charlotte Hornets retired the number during a ceremony in 2000, after Phills was killed in an auto accident. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Bobby Phills died in an automobile crash at the peak of his career, when Trey was only three years old. However, the new Yale freshman has been determined to keep his dad’s legacy alive. Trey has purposely asked for and been able to wear a 13 throughout his high school career. Now the Bulldogs’ coach, James Jones, has given it to him to wear on his home (white) and away (blue) Yale uniforms.

Trey has another solid connection in his basketball heritage. He played at Charlotte (NC) Christian High, the same school attended by Stephen Curry, who starred at Davidson and was a first round NBA pick of the Golden State Warriors.

Yale’s opens on a significant date for Phills

The number 13, strangely, comes up immediately on Yale’s schedule. Perhaps it’s a good omen for Trey Phills that his first college game will be on the 13th of November, when Yale faces Fairfield in the “Connecticut 6 Classic” at Central Connecticut.

Seeing a lot of time on the court may at first prove more difficult for Trey Phills than it was for him to be crowned the champion in Thursday night’s Yale slam dunk competition. The Bulldogs, led by returnees Justin Sears, Jack Montague, Makai Mason, Brandon Sherrod and Nick Victor, among others, already appear well set.

But Jones should be content to know that he has a freshman, who can come in off the bench and figuratively leap to the moon and slam the ball through the hoop.

His formal name is Bobby Ray Phills, III. Yale hoop fans will get to know him simply as Number 13, Trey Phills.

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