Still, it comes down to that launching power. Forty dunks? Goaltending? Good gosh! To find out what Webb could really do, I took it upon myself to measure his vertical leap. I tested him after Midland finished a long scrimmage with Sul Ross State at Midland's Chaparral Center arena in late October. Spud was exhausted and the gym floor is very hard, but he jumped 41 inches straight up and 48 inches after taking a short run. There is every reason to believe that when the adrenaline is flowing and Webb is rested, he can go even higher.
Chuck Dillman, a biomechanical engineer at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs says that a vertical leap of even 36 inches is "phenomenal"—David Thompson, for example, has jumped 44"—and that someone like Webb must have "optimal coordination of body segments" and possess "a very high force-to-weight ratio."
Jesus Dapena, an associate professor of biomechanics at Indiana University who specializes in analysis of high-jumping techniques, says Webb obviously has "a fantastic nervous system and fantastic muscles." With the aid of a formula that takes into account Webb's running leap, his height and center of gravity, Dapena calculates that Webb could high-jump 7'2" using the crudest technique. With training, who knows, "maybe 7'5", maybe 7'9"," says Dapena.
But Webb's place now is on a basketball floor. At the end of last week, Midland was 5-0 and he was averaging 15 points and 9.0 assists per game. In one win he scored 25 points and slammed two dunks. The crowd loved the show, but for some reason there were a few empty seats. That's odd. You'd expect a full house for a satellite launching.