A great summary of what it takes to improve vertical jumping ability Joe. There is definitely an art and science to optimizing vertical jump height. I actually just completed a huge post on the topic of How To Jump Higher which your readers may find complements this post nicely. It is a long read (12000+ words) but for those of your readers who want to learn more about the art of jumping they may find it helpful. Keep up the great work!
Toe Raises – stand with your feet shoulder width apart, typically on stairs or any sort of ground you can stand on that allows your heel to dip down. Then raise up on the tips of your toes. Continue this process until your complete your reps. Don’t rock up and down – or go to fast. For the exercise to work, you have to use correct form and go at a steady pace.
I gave myself six months to dunk because that was the low end of the “six to eight months” prescribed on the website of Brandon Todd, a 5'5" former D-III star who set the same goal for himself in 2005, and then, at age 22, accomplished it. When I first contacted him, Todd perfectly expressed the more shallow reason behind my goal: “When you can dunk, it means you’re a good athlete. Period. It takes away any subjectiveness.” I also chose six months because, as would be proved repeatedly during this mission, I am prone to tragic spells of overconfidence.
High pulls can also be done using a dumbbell or kettlebell,. When doing so, position the weight between your feet and pull with one arm at a time (switching arms halfway through the set). A trap bar (aka, hex bar) is also an option, particularly for individuals who have a hard time keeping the lower back flat; the trap bar allows the hands to be positioned behind the shins to help pull the shoulders back.
Keep that in mind, and progress slowly. A mini basketball is a little more challenging than a tennis ball, but it's easy to palm and that helps. See if you can get high enough to get your hand over the rim--almost up to your wrist--so you can stuff the mini ball. If you can't throw it down with a little authority, a bigger basketball won't be any easier.