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Who is Zion Williamson?

Photo Courtesy of @DukeMBB on Twitter.

I want to highlight an individual that really isn’t talked about enough in the game of college basketball. It is my pleasure to first introduce to all new college basketball fans an underdog by the name of Zion Williamson. According to ESPN, Zion Williamson is the greatest athlete to ever hit the hardcourt. Stephen A. Smith was quoted stating his dorm room in Durham is nicer than a suite at the Miami Ritz Carlton. He has speed, size, strength, grit, speed, and strength again. Also, Williamson has more Instagram followers than any other player in the NCAA, and more followers than the official accounts of some of the top college basketball programs. Honestly I don’t know how basketball fans don’t root for Duke and this guy Williamson more often.

I’m gonna break it down a bit further. Zion Williamson, based on his listed height and weight on the official Duke University basketball website, has a BMI of 32.1, classifying him as Obese Type 1. This is the first strike as to why he is often overlooked by analysts. But if you use his wingspan instead of his height, his BMI is adjusted to 29.8, classifying him as only Overweight according to the BMI index. This is why BMI is a flawed stat and Zion continues to be an underdog in the game of college basketball. I blame the media, because reporters refuse to ask the question that every fan wants to know, does Zion consider himself fat or just comfortable?

Let’s take a look at Duke’s most recent game, a matchup on Tuesday, December 18th against Princeton University. Some are calling it the greatest comeback in the history of sports. The Princeton Tigers led by a score of 8-0 to start the game before Duke went on a 101 to 42 point run. Williamson had 17 points and 10 rebounds in just 26 minutes of gametime. This just shouts unselfish and team player to me, as he not only led a comeback but also found a way to catch the ball off the backboard more than anyone else in the entire arena. And then there’s this play:

Zion is now the first player in the NCAA to be matched up against five players on the court AND immovable objects as well. The odds are stacked against him and yet he continues to prove his above-average skills. I’m not saying he’s NBA ready or will even make it to the G-League, but this guy has Europe written all over him. Maybe some semi-pro ball in Turkey or a stint in Lamar Ball’s Junior Ballers Association (JBA). Only time will tell.

Looking at how he fits into Duke’s scheme, the team has done well with only one loss in 11 games this season. With two dominant performances in blowout wins against Yale (91 to 58 final score) and Princeton (101 to 50 final score), I do start to question Zion’s ethics. Is Coach K encouraging him to bully nerds or does Zion just have a knack for outplaying worse teams. Defensively, Zion does fit well into the team’s man defense scheme. Zion reportedly has the Spalding logo imprinted on his hand from blocking so many shots and helping Duke to the fifth best defensive efficiency in the NCAA according to KenPom.

Zion WIlliamson. Honestly it’s not astrophysics. He’s just another human being and accidentally says ‘Thanks, you too’ when airport agents tell him to have a safe flight just as much as the rest of us. I wanna know how he’d do against the guys who play pickup at my local YMCA on Saturday mornings. That’s where champions are made in my opinion.

At the end of the day, Zion is a great basketball player, but at least we can be comforted by the fact that if basketball doesn’t pan out for him, he can fall back on his great education at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina when it comes to finding a job. I don’t know if he can spell Coach K’s last name, but I have no fear that Zion will be successful wherever his life takes him. He has big hands, so at the very worst he could be a fantastic piano player with all that coverage. I can’t wait to watch him play tight end in the NFL for the Chargers soon (that’s an Antonio Gates joke).

Connor Dolan
Connor is co-founder of First And Fan and head of all website operations. He's a die hard Boston sports fan with a passion for sports, media, and all things David Ortiz.