It’s hard not to know who Zion Williamson is if you’re a basketball fan. The 6’7 17 year old is one of the most electric high school basketball players in the country. The Salisbury native was birthed by two college athletes, therefore athleticism runs deep in his veins. His family moved to Florence, South Carolina when he was two years old and then split when he was five. Zion’s mother remarried and his step-father introduced him to the AAU circuit. Zion was 5’9 in eighth grade; by tenth grade he shot up to an amazing 6’6. Talk about a growth spurt! The now 6’7 senior, has shot his way to the top of the recruiting ranks.
From the nasty 360 windmill dunks, to the jaw-dropping two hand blocks, Zion has filled YouTube with many memorable highlight reels. He’s currently fielding offers North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Rated the number two senior in the class of 2018 according to ESPN top 100, the sky is the limit. The current number one prospect, Marvin Bagley III, may reclassify into the 2017 class thus, thrusting Zion into the number one spot.
What’s Left to Prove?
With all he’s accomplished in his three years of high school, there’s slim to nothing left for Zion to prove. He played an AAU basketball game last Wednesday that at one point had 90,000 viewers total. NBA players such as Damion Lillard, Andrew Wiggins and rookie, Lonzo Ball, were in attendance. Not to mention that the gym was packed. Police were stationed in the parking lot and gym for crowd control; the place was electric. LeBron James also came to see Zion but the place was too hectic. Zion has increased his stats in points, rebounds, and assists per game every year of high school.
Williamson has lead Spartanburg Day High to three straight trips to the state title game and has captured consecutive independent schools association Class 2A state titles. What else is there to prove? Zion is the second youngest athlete to grace the cover of SLAM magazine (issue 210). I understand you would never tell a competitor to sit out a game, let alone an entire season. However, it just might be the best for Zion. He has accomplished what most high schoolers dream of.
Too Good for His Own Good
Coach Krzyzewski, Coach Calipari, and Coach Williams all come to watch Williamson play regularly. He has his pick of any school he wants to go to in the country. Sitting out one year shouldn’t hurt his college choices. I know it’s frowned upon to do so, and people will shame him for it. Yet, plenty of college athletes are starting to do so. Philadelphia 76’er Ben Simmons did so in his one year at LSU.
This 6’7 man-child has broken the internet. Blocks and dunks rattling the back board, having high school gyms packed. All the extensive back-to-back AAU, Adidas, Nike, Under Armour tournaments, takes a toll.
All that wear and tear on his young 17 year old body, plus the high school season alone is a lot. I know he continually tries to give the fans what they want, but the chase down blocks where he has literally hit his head on the backboard and the awkward landings aren’t what college coaches want to see. Zion has already had a knee injury, which kept him out of a few games. God forbid, but he just might be one awkward fall or undercut away from a serious injury that could end his basketball career entirely.
All in all, if Zion expects to have a fulfilling future in basketball- he needs to either take off his last season all together, or try to work on his performance in a way that can ensure slim to no major injuries. I would suggest if he does play, he should just work on the fundamentals. Zion is a lefty, so why not work with the right hand this season. He will still dominate in high school, but he doesn’t need to break the rim or backboard to do so.