EMERSON, Ga. – Zion Harmon has a message for anyone that still looks at him as just the young guy with some skills playing with the big boys in the Nike EYBL 17 division.
“That puts you at a big disadvantage,” said Harmon, an eighth grade point guard who runs with Boo Williams (Va.). “If I were them I’d come at me hard from the beginning; that’s what I’m gonna do.”
Harmon went plenty hard in Saturday’s 70-59 win over BABC (Mas.) at the Nike EYBL, posting 20 points, four rebounds and four assists.
“This year is different for me,” Harmon said. “This year I’m taking it up another level. I think guys look at me like they should be able to dominate me because I’m younger, but my goal is just like any other player. I want to dominate.”
His opponents’ underestimations, at least as it relates to his age, is understandable, Harmon is the youngest player in the EYBL.
Perhaps even more impressive is that it’s his second consecutive year wearing that label.
Last summer, Harmon averaged 18 points and six assists for WACG (Tenn.) as the first seventh grader ever to play in the EYBL.
“I played pretty well, but we only won about two games the whole EYBL,” Harmon said. “Winning is the most important thing to me. Last year I was just kinda out there trying to figure it out, but now I want to go to Peach Jam and win it plus play my game.”
So far so good.
Harmon is averaging 12.6 points and 3.8 assists per game for Boo Williams (8-2). His best game this season came during the last EYBL session in Indianapolis, a 34-point, six-assist performance in a win over Team Penny (Tenn.).
That type of production makes college coaches take notice no matter how young he is.
N.C. State, Tennessee, Xavier and Wake Forest have all expressed interest in the 5-foot-10 floor general.
Now he’s working to build the same consistent respect among his peers.
“A lot of times I can tell they treat me like the young boy,” Harmon said. “A lot of guys know me and know that I can play from last season, but there are a lot who still underestimate me because of my age. I don’t mind that as long as I change their minds by the end of the game.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY