- Duke freshmanZion Williamson— the 6-foot-7, 285-pound phenom who is widely expected to be taken with the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft — has drawn comparisons to four-time NBA MVP LeBron James since high school.
- LeBron watched Williamson play in person when the Blue Devils traveled to Charlottesville to take on the then-No. 3 Virginia Cavaliers at John Paul Jones Arena in February.
- After Williamson finished the night with 18 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 blocks, James told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin that he was taken with Williamson’s “agility and his quickness” and his demeanor off the court.
Zion Williamson has drawn comparisons to LeBron James since high school.
The 6-foot-7, 285-pound phenom enthralled the college basketball world last season and enticed many NBA franchises with his rim-shaking dunks and high-flying blocks. He’s been so highly-touted and so impressive while playing for Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke Blue Devils, in fact, that James decided to go and have a look for himself.
The four-time NBA MVP traveled to John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Virginia, to watch Williamson and the Blue Devils take on the then-No. 3 Virginia Cavaliers February 9.
Williamson pitched in an impressive 18 points, five rebounds, five assists, and three blocks in Duke’s 81-71 victory, leaving James with nothing but positive things to say about the presumed first-round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
“I can relate in a sense of he’s been covered since he was in high school and everybody is trying to compare him to the next this or the next that,”James told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “But the best thing I’ve noticed is he seems like a good kid. He seems like he’s got his head on straight.
“That’s the type of s— that strikes me. Everybody gets so caught up in the game itself. I look at the intangibles. And he seems like he has great intangibles and seems like a great kid.”
When it comes to the Spartanburg, South Carolina, native’s impact on the court, James said he was taken with all that he can do given his strong stature.
“What strikes me? His agility and his quickness,” Jamessaid. “For his size, how strong he is, to be able to move like the way he moves, he’s very impressive. I mean, everybody can see the athleticism. That’s obviously, that’s ridiculous. But the speed and the quickness that he moves [with] at that size is very impressive.”
Williamson wasn’t the only Duke player James had his eye on that night. Freshman forward R.J. Barrett led all scorers with 26 points and seven rebounds on the night, while classmate Cam Reddish added 17 points on 5-8 shooting from beyond the arc. The fourth freshman in their class, point guard Tre Jones, leads the ACC with5.6 assists per game and a4.5 assist to turnover ratio.
“I love what those young boys are doing over there,” Jamessaid. “I love what Zion and RJ and Cam and Tre, I love what they’re doing. So, [the trip] was a no-brainer. It was easy.”
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