THERE aren’t many places that LeBron James can’t get into in the world, but an AAU game between a 15-year old and 17-year old is apparently one such place. I am of course referring to the showdown between LaMelo Ball and 2018 No. 2 ranked prospect man child Zion Williamson, not your everyday high school game by any means. With the likes of Damian Lillard and Andrew Wiggins packed into the crowd, the game nearly didn’t go ahead with more than 4,000 people squashing into the Cashman Center in Las Vegas to get a glimpse at the future. Unless you’ve been living under a rock you have no doubt heard about LaMelo Ball and his overzealous father Lavar, but perhaps the most YouTubed high schooler of all-time was repping the other squad on that Wednesday night just a few weeks ago. So who exactly is Zion Williamson?
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AS I mentioned this matchup wasn’t just between two random high schoolers with Ball and Williamson two of the most talented youth basketballers on the planet. In a world where social media and YouTube/Instagram videos dictate attention, Zion Williamson has quickly become a household name.
A North Carolina native hailing from Salisbury, Zion gains his sporting talents from his mother and father. His mum was a sprinter and gym teacher while his father was an All-American defensive lineman in high school earning a scholarship to NC State. So it’s easy to see where his explosiveness and natural athletic ability comes from that has led to him stealing SportsCenter Top 10 appearances one after the other. Earlier this year he showcased that he is more than just a showtime dunking machine, however, dropping 51 points in a state championship win for the Spartanburg Day Griffins.
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IT’S easy to get lost amongst the breathtaking dunks and above the rim acrobatics (I’m starting to run out of analogies for Zion’s dunking prowess) that have seen him becoming nationally acclaimed, but he is ranked as the second best player in the 2018 class for more than that. After averaging 36.8 points and 13.0 rebounds per game as a junior, he has now been offered a scholarship by powerhouse programs such as Louisville, Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina with close to 20 other schools also registering interest.
ZION Williamson has to be careful though, with the uber-athlete throwing down with such ferocity that you have to be careful he doesn’t do any damage to his young developing body. Sure it’s exciting to do a 360, windmill in a blowout W or layup line, but it can lead to a negative in the long run (see: Blake Grifin). Still unable to legally drink for roughly another four years, there is no doubt Zion Williamson could develop into something special with the potential to be a future No. 1 pick. High school talents come and go with the likes of Harry Giles, Shabazz Muhammad, Skal Labissiere and Cliff Alexander also profoundly touted high school talents that are yet to make an impact in the big time.
FINGERS crossed Williamson can live up to the hype that he has brought on himself and stay healthy enough to bring his in-game dunking talents to the NBA. I’m sure then LeBron James will be able to get a seat to witness his heart-stopping highlights.
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