By Jim Halley, USA TODAY High School Sports | January 13, 2018 10:43 pm
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — LaMelo who?
ESPN scheduled its coverage of Saturday’s Spalding Hoophall Classic game between Chino Hills, Calif., and Spartanburg Day (Spartanburg, S.C.) when it was a likely rematch of the high-scoring game Ball and Spartanburg Day’s Zion Williamson played in summer basketball.
Ball is playing professionally with his brother LiAngelo in Lithuania, but even without him, Chino Hills took a 70-64 win over Spartanburg Day.
Onyeka Okongwu led the Huskies with 35 points and 14 rebounds, matching Williamson, a reigning American Family Insurance ALL-USA player, who had 36 points.
Make no doubt, though, Williamson was the show. Teamed with a group of players who will be future YMCA league stars and playing in only his second game back from a foot injury, he was impressive.
GAME RECAP: Check out the full boxscore and stats
Williamson’s various hesitation layups and up-and-under scoop shots don’t always draw that many oohs and aahs because he makes difficult shots look ordinary.
“I would say I’m 90 percent,” he said. “I still have to get my wind back underneath me. I go into every game with the same confidence and I feel like when the game’s bigger, I get even better.”
He began the game almost tentatively, trying to get his teammates involved, scoring six points in the first quarter.
“When my teammates are involved and they have their confidence up, I feel that’s when we’re at our best,” Williamson said.
He is expected to announce his college next Saturday, choosing between Clemson, South Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina.
“I’m very excited for that day because it’s my mom’s birthday,” he said. “That’s just a big thank you to her because of all the sacrifices she’s had to make for me.”
North Carolina, South Carolina and Kentucky visited him last week, and he said he plans to make his mind up by the middle of the week.
Williamson had 20 points in the first half, making 9-of-14 shots from the floor with four rebounds, but none of his teammates had more than five points. Chino Hills led 37-34 at the half with Okongwu leading the way with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Phaquon Davis also had 10 for the Huskies.
2017 American Family Insurance Preseason ALL-USA basketball, 2018 Spalding Hoophall Classic, Chino Hills (Chino Hills CA), Onyeka Okongwu, Spartanburg Day School (Spartanburg SC), Zion Williamson, Hoophall Classic