South Carolina high school gyms transformed into stages when the Spartanburg Day School came to play. Fans packed the stands to the brim—popcorn and phone in hand to record the next big play—and prepared to enjoy the show. Then No. 12 took center court for the opening tip.
The star had arrived, and his name was Zion Williamson.
Before he took the floor at Cameron Indoor Stadium for the Duke Blue Devils or made his NBA debut, Williamson made a mockery of high school competition. In his freshman year, Zion stood 6-foot-3. He averaged 24.4 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 3.3 steals, and 3 blocks en route to a state championship game appearance for the first time in Spartanburg Day history. He received his first scholarship offer to Wofford.
The next year, Williamson grew to 6-foot-6 and become a force of nature. He averaged 28.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.7 steals, and 3.9 blocks while leading the Griffins back to the state championship game. This time, the Griffins were victorious, and Zion earned player-of-the-year honors.
The 2019 No. 1 overall NBA draft pick entered his junior year as a five-star prospect and No. 1 player in the 2018 recruiting class. He averaged 36.8 points, 13 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 3 steals, and 2.5 blocks. His most notable performance came when he exploded for 53 points and 16 rebounds on 25-of-28 shooting at the Chick-Fil-A Classic, setting a tournament record in a 20-point victory.
Zion Williamson Scores 53 Points in High School
Zion led the Griffins to their second consecutive state championship. He earned National Junior of the Year honors from MaxPreps, while being named to the USA Today High School Sports All-USA first team.
It was around this time he gained national recognition via social media. Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry praised his highlights, and Drake sported his jersey in an Instagram post. He also appeared on the cover of Slam magazine.
By his senior year, Williamson was must-watch entertainment. The current New Orleans Pelicans forward averaged 36.4 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 3.4 steals, and 2.3 blocks. In the middle of the season, he announced his decision to play college basketball at Duke for Mike Krzyzewski over Clemson and North Carolina. Behind Zion’s remarkable play, the Griffins won a third-straight state title.
Zion’s impeccable career earned him South Carolina Mr. Basketball and runner-up for Mr. Basketball USA, where he finished behind Duke teammate R.J. Barrett as the best player in the country.
In his final days in a high school uniform, Williamson played in the McDonald’s All-American Game and was awarded a spot in the Jordan Brand Classic. However, he sat out the Jordan Brand Classic due to a thumb injury.
Zion Williamson High School Highlights
Zion’s high school career is one of the best and most electric since LeBron James. He brought thunderous dunks to gyms around the country and proved himself a winner.
It will be a while before we see another high school basketball player as captivating as Zion.