Zion Williamson

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Zion Williamson
No. 1 – Duke Blue Devils
PositionSmall forward / Power forward
LeagueAtlantic Coast Conference
Personal information
Born (2000-07-07) July 7, 2000 (age 18)
Salisbury, North Carolina
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
Listed weight285 lb (129 kg)
Career information
High schoolSpartanburg Day School
(Spartanburg, South Carolina)
CollegeDuke (2018–present)
Career highlights and awards

Zion Williamson (born July 7, 2000) is an American college basketball player for the Duke Blue Devils of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Listed at 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) and 285 pounds (129 kg), he plays the small forward and power forward positions. He is one of the top prospects for the 2019 NBA draft.

Williamson attended Spartanburg Day School in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he was a five-star recruit and was ranked among the top players in his class. He led his team to three state titles during his high school career. Williamson was a McDonald's All-American and South Carolina Mr. Basketball as a senior in 2018. He gained national recognition in high school for his highlight videos featuring his slam dunking ability.

Early life[edit]

Williamson was born July 7, 2000, in Salisbury, North Carolina to Lateef Williamson and Sharonda Sampson.[1] He was named after the biblical location Mount Zion in Jerusalem.[2] In his childhood, Williamson played multiple sports including soccer and football.[2] At age 5, he set sights on becoming a college basketball star.[3] He played in youth leagues under his mother's coaching and played for the Sumter Falcons on the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) circuit, facing nine-year-old opponents at age 5.[4][3] Williamson later began working with his stepfather Lee Anderson, a former Clemson basketball player, to improve his skills as a point guard.[3] He played basketball at Johnakin Middle School in Marion, South Carolina, where he was coached by his mother and averaged 20 points per game.[3]

High school career[edit]

Williamson attended Spartanburg Day School in Spartanburg, South Carolina (pictured).

Shortly before ninth grade, Williamson enrolled at Spartanburg Day School, a small K–12 private school in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he played basketball for the Griffins.[2] Between eighth and ninth grade, he grew from 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) to 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m).[4] In the summer leading up to his first season, Williamson trained in the school gym and developed the ability to dunk.[5] As a freshman, he averaged 24.4 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 3.3 steals and 3.0 blocks, earning All-State and All-Region honors.[2][6] Williamson also led the Griffins to a state championship game appearance.[7] By his sophomore year, he stood 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m).[7] In his second high school season, Williamson averaged 28.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game.[1] He guided his team to win its first South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) state title.[2] In June 2016, Williamson was a top performer at the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) Top 100 camp.[8] As a junior, he averaged 36.8 points and 13.0 rebounds per game and led the Griffins to their second straight state championship, in which he scored 51 points.[9][10] As a senior, Williamson averaged 36.4 points and 11.4 rebounds per game, winning his third state title.[11] Williamson was selected to play in the McDonald's All-American Game and took part in the Nike Hoop Summit.

Recruiting[edit]

Williamson was rated as a five-star recruit and the third-best prospect in the class of 2018, according to 247Sports.[12] As a high school freshman, he received his first college offer to play for Wofford.[13] In June 2015, during his sophomore year, Williamson received an offer to Clemson, which recruiting experts would later consider his most likely destination.[14][15] In August 2016, he was offered by Duke, and in the following year, by Kentucky.[16][17] He also received a football scholarship offer from LSU, who wanted him to be a tight end, but he did not show interest.[18] Williamson committed to play basketball for Duke on January 20, 2018, choosing the Blue Devils over Clemson and South Carolina.[19] Stephen K. Benjamin, mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, had tweeted that he was willing to officially name the date "Zion Williamson Day."[20] At Duke, Williamson joined R. J. Barrett and Cameron Reddish, the two best recruits, making it the first time a college team signed the top-3 recruits in a class since modern recruiting rankings began.[12]

US college sports recruiting information for high school athletes
Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight Commit date
Zion Williamson
PF
Spartanburg, SC Spartanburg Day School 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 272 lb (123 kg) Jan 20, 2018 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:5/5 stars   Rivals:5/5 stars   247Sports:5/5 stars    ESPN:5/5 stars   ESPN grade: 96
Overall recruiting rankings:   Rivals: 5  247Sports: 7, 2 (PF), 1 (SC)  ESPN: 2, 1 (PF), 1 (SC)
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height and weight.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.

Sources:

  • "2018 Team Ranking". Rivals.com. Retrieved January 14, 2018.

College career[edit]

Williamson made his preseason debut for Duke on August 15, 2018, in an 86–67 win over Canadian university Ryerson, recording a double-double of 29 points and 13 rebounds and shooting 3-of-4 from three-point range.[21] On November 6, in his first regular season game with Duke, he scored 28 points on 11-of-13 shooting in 23 minutes in a 118–84 win over Kentucky at the Champions Classic.[22]

Player profile[edit]

Standing 6 feet 7 inches (2.01 m) and weighing 285 pounds (129 kg), Williamson has been widely praised as a physical specimen.[23][24] Despite his heavy weight, he is known for his speed and leaping ability.[25][26] NBA player Kevin Durant described him as a "once-in-a-generation type athlete" while an anonymous college basketball coach labeled him a "freak of nature."[27][28] Williamson plays the power forward position but is also capable of being a small ball center.[29] He has been described as not fitting a specific basketball position.[30] His physical attributes have drawn comparisons to former NBA stars Charles Barkley and Larry Johnson.[31] In addition, according to different analysts, he resembles NBA players LeBron James and Julius Randle.[30] Basketball coach Roy Williams reportedly told Williamson that he was the best player he had seen since Michael Jordan.[32] Williamson, who is left-handed, is almost ambidextrous, being adept using either hand.[30]

While in high school, Williamson drew national attention for his slam dunks.[33] The Charlotte Observer remarked that he "could be the best high-school dunker in history."[34] NBA point guard John Wall has likened Williamson's in-game dunking ability to that of Vince Carter.[35] Williamson's outside shooting has been considered a point of concern, and he has unorthodox shot mechanics.[4][5][36] Recruiting service 247Sports has praised his ball handling and passing skills for his size, commenting that they are "overshadowed by [his] athletic plays."[37] Williamson has the ability to defend multiple positions well due to his speed and length, although his defensive effort has been questioned.[38] His explosiveness makes him a reliable shot-blocker and gives him prowess as a rebounder.[39]

Personal life[edit]

Williamson's father Lateef Williamson was a defensive lineman who earned All-American honors at Mayo High School in Darlington, South Carolina. Lateef had committed to NC State before transferring to Livingstone College.[1][4] Williamson's mother Sharonda Sampson was a sprinter at Livingstone and became a middle school health and physical education teacher. When he was two years of age, following the death of Sampson's mother, his family moved to Florence, South Carolina.[1][4] By the time he was five years old, his parents divorced, and Sampson married former Clemson basketball player Lee Anderson.[4][3] Williamson attended Spartanburg Day School with his younger brother Noah, who is about 13 years his junior.[40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Wertz, Jr., Langston (November 5, 2016). "One of nation's top basketball recruits resides in Spartanburg, says Coach K offered scholarship". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e Bezjak, Lou (October 1, 2016). "Williamson drawing attention as one of 2018's finest". The State. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e Jordan, Jason (December 23, 2016). "Chick-fil-A Classic: Zion Williamson is taking the country by storm". USA Today High School Sports. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Fowler, Scott (February 16, 2017). "The legend of basketball phenom Zion Williamson". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Babb, Kent (April 8, 2017). "Zion Williamson, 16, might be the best dunker on the Internet. And what else?". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
  6. ^ "2015 Boys Basketball All-Area Team". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. April 5, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Figman, Adam (June 6, 2017). "Generation Z". Slam. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  8. ^ Meyer, Jerry (June 17, 2016). "Zion Williamson leading NBA Top 100 Camp in scoring". 247Sports. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  9. ^ "Zion Williamson scored 51 points in a championship game and had another jaw-dropping dunk". SBNation.com. Retrieved 2017-04-04.
  10. ^ Calipari offers scholarship to high school basketball sensation Zion Williamson
  11. ^ Hall, Brendan (May 8, 2018). "The ultimate Zion Williamson senior highlight reel". USA Today High School Sports. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  12. ^ a b Roberts, Ben (January 22, 2018). "Duke has the top three basketball recruits in the country. Has that ever happened?". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  13. ^ Fowler, Scott (February 16, 2017). "Basketball star Zion Williamson: 'Wide open' on recruiting, including ... Wofford?". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  14. ^ Crumpton, Tony (June 25, 2015). "Clemson offers in-state forward". TigerNet.com. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  15. ^ Wertz Jr., Langston (January 5, 2018). "Will Zion Williamson pick Clemson? The majority of recruiting experts say yes". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  16. ^ Fisher, Chris (March 28, 2017). "Kentucky offers Zion Williamson". 247Sports. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  17. ^ Rowe, Adam (August 30, 2016). "Duke offers 247Sports' #1 player in 2018, SF Zion Williamson". 247Sports. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  18. ^ Borzello, Jeff (November 15, 2018). "Ex-LSU asst.: Zion Williamson 'probably the best damn tight end to ever live'". ESPN. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  19. ^ "High-flying Zion Williamson, No. 2 in ESPN 100, commits to Duke". ESPN.com. January 20, 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  20. ^ Roberts, Ben (January 12, 2018). "South Carolina mayor declares Jan. 20 to be 'Zion Williamson Day' in Columbia". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  21. ^ Boone, Kyle (August 16, 2018). "Duke's Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett lead Blue Devils to exhibition rout of Ryerson". CBS Sports. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  22. ^ Doyel, Gregg (November 7, 2018). "Meet Duke phenom Zion Williamson, the most unique college basketball player I've ever seen". USA Today. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  23. ^ "Zion Williamson". Duke Blue Devils. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  24. ^ Boone, Kyle (January 21, 2018). "Why 5-star Zion Williamson would fit better at Clemson than Kentucky, Kansas, or Duke". CBS Sports. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  25. ^ Phillips, Scott (July 7, 2018). "Zion Williamson breaks Duke vertical leap record". NBC Sports. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  26. ^ O'Donnell, Ricky (October 19, 2017). "We've never seen anyone like Zion Williamson ... but will his game work in the NBA?". SB Nation. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  27. ^ Johnson, Chris. "Zion Williamson: Basketball's next dunking prodigy". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  28. ^ Smith, Cam (November 29, 2017). "Kevin Durant on Zion Williamson: 'He's a once-in-a-generation type athlete'". USA Today High School Sports. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  29. ^ Westerholm, Tony (January 20, 2018). "Zion Williamson to Duke: Three takeaways as hyper-athletic forward joins Blue Devils mens basketball". The Republican. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  30. ^ a b c Bossi, Eric (April 18, 2016). "Adidas Gauntlet: Feeding frenzy for five-star Langford". Rivals.com. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  31. ^ Bossi, Eric; Evans, Corey (January 18, 2018). "Rival Views: The best Zion Williamson comparison". Rivals. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  32. ^ Fowler, Scott (February 16, 2017). "Is SC dunking phenom Zion Williamson basketball's next LeBron James?". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  33. ^ Wiseman, Steve (August 10, 2018). "Duke's Zion Williamson talks dunks, his fame and learning from Coach K". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  34. ^ Fowler, Scott (February 14, 2017). "Is Zion Williamson the best prep dunker ever? Watch this video from ONE GAME and drool". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  35. ^ Nelson, Ryne (August 29, 2017). "John Wall: Zion Williamson Is Top 2-3 'Most Athletic Player I've Ever Seen'". Slam. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  36. ^ Gribanov, Mike (November 11, 2017). "Draft Profile: Zion Williamson". The Stepien. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  37. ^ Flaherty, Kevin (April 19, 2018). "YouTube star Zion Williamson creates challenge for evaluators". 247Sports. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  38. ^ Westerholm, Tom (January 14, 2018). "Zion Williamson Scouting: How does the freakishly athletic HS forward project to the NBA?". The Republican. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  39. ^ Uehara, Rafael (August 1, 2018). "Prospect Report: Zion Williamson Of Duke". RealGM. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  40. ^ Weiss, Dick (October 7, 2017). "Zion the Lion makes case as best prospect in Class of 2018". Blue Star Media. Retrieved August 23, 2018.

External links[edit]