USA TODAY High School Sports is publishing a series called “The Class of 18,” highlighting 18 members of the Class of 2018 whom we will be watching in the coming year. The athletes were selected by the USA TODAY HSS staff.
Name: Zion Williamson
School: Spartanburg Day School (S.C.)
MORE CLASS OF ’18: See all the athlete profiles here
It’s hard to say which is more impressive: The fact that Zion Williamson is the most famous high school athlete in the country, maybe ever, or that he lives up to that hype virtually every time he steps on to the hardwood.
As John Carroll’s (Bel Air, Md.) five-star point guard Immanuel Quickley put it, “It’s not hype at all; Zion is real.”
If the old sports cliché that “numbers don’t lie” is true, than Quickley’s claim would be hard to argue.
Last season, Williamson averaged 36.8 points and 13 rebounds to lead his team to its second consecutive independent schools association Class 2A state title.
After fighting a nagging knee injury for most of the summer, Williamson was named MVP of the prestigious adidas Nations Global event posting 28 points and 10 rebounds in the championship win.
“I just try to focus on being the best that I can be,” Williamson said. “A lot of people play up the hype and everything like that, but I focus on getting better. I want to be the best and that takes work, but It can be a lot to deal with sometimes.”
Makes sense for a guy with an Instagram following that’s swiftly approaching one million and calls hip hop stars like Drake and Quavo his friends.
Williamson is ranked No. 2 overall in the ESPN 100 with a who’s who of college basketball’s most elite, including Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas and Arizona, among many others, giving a spirited chase.
“I don’t get caught up in the whole process,” Williamson said. “I just enjoy it and I’m building relationships with everyone. I don’t even know if I’ll announce a list or anything like that. It’s just about a feeling for me. I’ll eventually pick the school I feel most comfortable with and the school that presents the best situation for me. For now I’m just focused on getting better in every way.”