Sets freshman single-game scoring mark, has other rookie records in sight
With each successive game, it is easy to see why Duke’s Zion Williamson was considered one of the nation’s top high school basketball prospects last season and that he might just be playing his way into becoming the No. 1 pick in the next NBA draft.
The 6-foot-7, 285-pound power forward—with emphasis on the power part—has quickly begun an assault on the Blue Devil record book for freshman achievements and added another check mark on January 14 when he faced Syracuse, although it came in a 95-91 overtime loss to the Orangemen.
Williamson poured in a 35 points to lead the Blue Devils and surpass the freshman single-game record of 34 points shared by J.J. Redick and Marvin Bagley III. Williamson, who was 12 of 20 from the field with one 3-pointer and 10 of 14 from the free-throw line, also had 10 rebounds for his ninth double-double in 16 games this season. He also had four blocked shots.
Bagley III got his then-record 34 against Texas on November 24, 2017, and Redick put up his mark on January 15, 2003. Williamson’s was the 16th 30-plus scoring performance by a Blue Devil freshman in school history, and Bagley III recorded seven of those in his one season in Durham.
The rest of those 30-plus outputs round out like this:
33, Marvin Bagley III, versus Notre Dame, March 8, 2018
32, Marvin Bagley III, versus Florida State, December 30, 2017
31, Johnny Dawkins, at Maryland, January 15, 1983
31, Kyrie Irving, versus Michigan State, December 1, 2010
31, Marvin Bagley III, versus North Carolina State, January 6, 2018
30, 8 tied (Bagley III has 3)
Considering that the Blue Devils have 15 regular-season games remaining plus likely runs deep into the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and NCAA tournaments, it is conceivable Williamson could reach the great heights set by Bagley III in 2017-18.
Bagley III currently stands atop the Duke freshman categories of most points, season (694), highest scoring average, season (21.0 points per game), most total rebounds, season (366) and rebounds per game average, season (11.1 per game).
Williamson currently has 339 total points on the year for a 21.2 per game average and 151 rebounds for a 9.4 per game average. And that’s after suffering an eye injury that cost him 23 minutes of playing time in an 80-78 win over Florida State on January 12.
If he keeps up this pace, there’s no doubt he leave as one of the best freshmen ever to don Duke blue, and that he’ll hear his name called very early by some NBA team in June. H&A
Cover image courtesy Duke Athletics | Reagan Lunn/@DukeMBB.