Zion Williamson, the most hyped prospect to enter the NBA since LeBron James, has been picked as the Number One draft by the New Orleans Pelicans.
At 18 years old and two metres tall (6ft 7ins), Zion Williamson enters the NBL as the second heaviest player in the NBA (129kg or 285lbs) behind the 2.2 metre (7ft 3ins) human tree Boban Marjanovic. Williamson can jump out of the gym — partly why he rose to fame as a high school athlete — and will put bums on seats in New Orleans, and wherever he goes, writes Olgun Uluc for FoxSports.
— NBA (@NBA) June 21, 2019
“He doesn’t really make sense as a human — science says one person shouldn’t be able to weigh that much, jump that high, and run that fast — which is why, at a fundamental level, people just love to watch Williamson play basketball,” writes Uluc.
“Through high school, he was racking up millions of views as he bullied kids in South Carolina, who quite frankly should never have been forced to share a court with him. By the time he got to college, the Zion hype train had left the station.
“As pundits tried to figure out how his game would translate to the NBA, and what position this freak specimen was going to play, it became apparent that it didn’t really matter.”
The power of NBA’s Number 1 draft pick, Zion Williamson is evident as Georgian centre Goga Bitadze realises he’s nothing in comparison. Photo: Instagram
Williamson, who is from the city of Salisbury in North Carolina, set his sights on becoming a basketball star at the age of five. At the age of nine, Williamson began waking every morning at 5am to train. He competed in youth leagues with his mother Sharonda Sampson coaching and played for the Sumter Falcons on the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) circuit, facing opponents four years older than him. Williamson later began working with his stepfather, former college basketball player Lee Anderson.
He joined the basketball team – coached by Sampson – at Johnakin Middle School in Marion, South Carolina, and averaged 20 points per game. In middle school, Williamson was a point guard and lost only three games in two years. In 2013, he guided Johnakin to an 8–1 record and a conference title.
Williamson went to independent private school Spartanburg Day School, where he was a consensus five-star recruit and was ranked among the top five players in the 2018 class. Between the eighth and ninth grades, Williamson grew from 1.75 metres (5ft 9ins) to 1.91 metres 6ft 3ins. He led his team Griffiths to three straight state championships and was recognised as South Carolina Mr Basketball in his senior season.
Williamson left high school as a McDonald’s All-American, runner-up for Mr Basketball USA, and USA Today All-USA first team honoree. In high school, he drew national attention for his slam dunks.
In his freshman season with Duke University Blue Devils, Williamson was named ACC Player of the Year and ACC Rookie of the Year. He set the single-game school scoring record for freshmen in January 2019, claimed ACC Rookie of the Week accolades five times, earned AP Player of the Year, Sporting News College Player of the Year recognition, and won the University Basketball Writers Association’s Wayman Tisdale Award.
Zion Williamson cuts an impressive figure playing for Duke University in 2018. Photo: Keenan Hairston from Raleigh
Williamson smiled his way through nearly half an hour of questions, trying to portray himself like any player just hoping to be drafted.
Suddenly, a tall, thin newcomer pushed his way to the front of the shoulder-to-shoulder swarm surrounding Williamson and shot down that idea.
“What does it feel like,” Duke teammate RJ Barrett asked, “to be the best prospect since LeBron James?”
Love the raw emotion from Zion Williamson right now. Good on him and bravo to his mother. #NBADraft
— Matt Glenesk (@MattGlenesk) June 20, 2019
Only time will tell and if he turns the New Orleans Pelicans into NBA champions then he will be close to immortal.