USA TODAY High School Sports is unveiling the 2017-18 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Boys Basketball Teams as selected by Jim Halley with input from USA TODAY Sports’ Jason Jordan, high school coaches and recruiting experts.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Kevin Boyle, Montverde Academy
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: R.J. Barrett, Montverde Academy
Name: Zion Williamson
School: Spartanburg Day (Spartanburg, S.C.)
Position: Power Forward
Details: Led team to three consecutive state titles, averaging 36.4 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists. Has 1.4 million followers on Instagram, including Drake. Was also a first-team ALL-USA last season.
Favorite food: my mom’s home-cooked fried chicken.
My worst sport: Would probably be cross country. I can run three miles, but I probably would finish in the middle or in the back.
Making sacrifices: The moment my mom asked me what I wanted to do with basketball, she almost took her dreams and threw them out and made my dreams her dreams, so she could support me.
Unique name: I’ve met three people named Zion. One at Wendy’s (in February). One at the USA mini-camp in Zion Harmon (a freshman point guard from Adair County High in Bowling Green, Ky.) and another Zion I went to middle school with, but he spelled his name, Zyon.
Avoiding the highlight dunk: My junior year, in a first-round playoff game, I hit an in and out crossover and was attacking the basket. The guy saw me coming and their game plan was to take charges. He saw I didn’t care. I was going to just jump over him and dunk it. He jumped away from me, acting like he was trying to block it.
School daze: In my French class, we had a fashion show, so I had to dress very nice. I dressed like I was going to the NBA Draft, even though I didn’t have a flashy jacket, you know how players will show the insides of their jacket, showing that pose a lot.
Most difficult dunk: I tried a 360 after going between the legs. It went in, but I tried to dunk it too hard, so it bounced out. Sometimes on fast breaks, I think about my dunk, but there are other times I just go with whatever my body is telling me to do.
Stay true to your school: I tell people the same thing that my mom and a few college coaches told me. ‘Coaches will find the talent’ and then, getting looks, if I’m being honest, you are not going to get a lot of looks in high school. A lot of the looks you get are during the AAU season, so you might as well represent your school.
Smartest player in the NBA: I’m going to go with Chris Paul.
Secret entertainer crushes: When I think about those, it’s almost like, ‘Yeah, that would never happen’ so I try not to think about it. I’m going to go with Peyton List and Zendaya.