Zion Williamson is at overwhelming best at USA BB

COLORADO SPRINGS – Eighteen members of the Class of 2018 are among the 54 players on hand for the two-day, USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team “mini-camp”.

For those seniors, it’s another opportunity to pad their resume in order to get a spot on the USA squad that will play in the Nike Hoop Summit Game in Portland in April.

And, with multiple Selection Committee voters (myself included) on hand, it’s also another way to build their cases for inclusion on the McDonald’s All-American team that will be unveiled in mid-January.

Foremost among that group of players during the two sessions of drills and scrimmages Saturday were forward Zion Williamson (Spartanburg, SC, Day School), swingman Keldon Johnson (Mouth of Wilson, VA, Oak Hill Academy), forwards Cameron Reddish (West Chester, PA, Westtown) and Emmitt Williams (Orlando, FL, Oak Ridge) and guards Darius Garland (Nashville Brentwood Academy), Tre Jones (Apple Valley, MV, Apple Valley) and Tyler Herro (Greenfield, WI, Whitnall).

The left-handed Williamson’s combination of strength, explosiveness and skill with the ball in his hands may be second to none on the high school level since LeBron James graduated from Akron’s St. Vincent-St. Mary High in 2003.

Johnson was nearly as spectacular as was Williamson Saturday night, notably on his can-you-freakin-believe-it dunk over the top of 7-foot-1 Moses Brown.

Reddish, Williams, Garland and Jones (who, like Reddish, is already committed to Duke) join Williamson and Johnson as likely McDonald’s AA “locks”.

Herro (committed to Wisconsin) may be a bit of a long shot although he’ll get my vote. He looked good enough Saturday to step into the Badgers’ starting lineup next month.

The most of impressive of the non-seniors on hand Saturday were 6-10 James Wiseman (Memphis East) and 6-9 Vernon Carey Jr. (Ft. Lauderdale University), power forwards-deluxe from the Class of 2019, as well as 2020’s R.J. Hampton (Little Elm, TX, High) and Jalen Green (Fresno San Joaquin Memorial).

Two of the best guards in the camp were on the sidelines with casts on hands.

  Anfernee Simons (Bradenton, FL, IMG Academy) wore a case on his right (shooting) hand because of a fractured pinky suffered last week in practice. He said he’ll have the cast on for about a month.

And sensational 2020 point guard Nico Mannion (Scottsdale, AZ, Pinnacle) will be out of hoops commission for approximately six weeks after suffering a broken second metacarpal in his left (non-shooting) hand during drills in the first session at camp Saturday morning.

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