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23 years ago today: Sean Miller’s pass led to epic glass-shattering dunk

CAPTION: November 2009 interview with Sean Miller

Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller prefers to call it “The Pass.” Everyone else around college basketball knows it by the call from ESPN’s Bill Raftery: “Send it in, Jerome!”

It’s still one of the most replayed college basketball dunks off all-time.

Miller, a freshman point guard leading a fast break for the Pitt Panthers, delivers a pass from the middle of the court to 6-foot-6 power forward Jerome Lane, racing in from the right wing. Lane finishes with a thunderous one-handed dunk over a Providence player, shattering the backboard.

“A lot of people call it ‘The Dunk;’ it’s definitely ‘The Pass,’” Miller said with a smile Tuesday at his weekly news conference. “The dunk wouldn’t have happened if the pass didn’t happen.”

Some of the spectators at Fitzgerald Field House grabbed some shards of history from the floor before workers cleaned up the rest of the broken glass during a 30-minute delay. The sign on the message board: “The Lane Falls Mainly on the Pane.”

“They’ll be talking about this for years,” Pitt coach Paul Evans said at the time.

Miller, once again tongue-in-cheek, on Tuesday said:

“Sometimes they forget about me. I was watching the Pitt-Notre Dame game last night and I was very disappointed in Bill Raftery. He didn’t even mention me at all, and I thought we were connected in a pretty high level and that every time that came up he is supposed to take care of me and vice-versa.”

Mostly, though, Miller couldn’t believe it has 23 years since that Jan. 25, 1988.

“That really caught me off guard. Almost hard to believe,” Miller said. “That’s how time flies by. It’s been 23 years since that happened to me … it’s amazing.”

And in 23 more years, he’ll still be talking about “The Pass.”

“It’s an experience that very few will ever have,” he said.

“Just imagine if it’s UCLA here and it’s a nationally televised game, like that one was. It’s a two-on-one, and Derrick (Williams) shatters the backboard on national TV. It’s a moment that’s unforgettable.

“It’s one of those things I’m probably fortunate to be a part of, because every year at some level they’re going to talk about it.”

BONUS COVERAGE: John Feinstein wrote about the backboard-breaking dunk for the Washington Post in 1988. Included in his story was this line: “Miller, who began the season with a wispy mustache to look older, shaved it after shooting one-for-nine against Oklahoma. Now he looks 14 although he plays 22 …”

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