Durham, N.C. — While his Syracuse Orange squad upset the Duke Blue Devils last night in overtime, Jim Boeheim had some fascinating words and a comparison for freshman sensation Zion Williamson. Widely expected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft this summer, Williamson has taken college basketball by storm as a unique above-the-rim talent who shows no mercy at the rim.
Williamson isn’t just a dunker though — he’s capable of running a fast break, weaving in and out of defenders with the dribble while also showing some flash on his passes. He can rebound with the best of them and although his shooting is his biggest weakness as it stands, he’s still able to knock down threes in open space.
A distinct and transcendent talent, Williamson does all of this while being listed at 6-foot-7 and weighing 285 lbs. He scored 35 points and hauled in 10 rebounds last night against Syracuse while registering four blocks in 44 minutes. After the game, Jim Boeheim offered some praise Williamson’s way and also compared him to Charles Barkley, but just not as hefty.
“It’s hard to defend him. He’s a physical specimen. He’s like Charles Barkley was except he shoots better than Charles did. And he’s not as fat. I hope Charles will come back. He’ll have something for me there,” Boeheim said.
Boeheim went on to say that he hasn’t seen many players like Williamson. At that build, it defies logic for him to be able to move as quickly as he does and to be able to sky at the rim so seamlessly.
While Williamson might not be known for his shooting, Boeheim is right. Sort of. Williamson shoots it 28.6 percent from downtown currently while Barkely was a career 26.6 percent shooter in the NBA. Of course, the NBA three point line is further back than that of the college three so perhaps that’s not a fair comparison. The college three wasn’t officially installed by the NCAA until after Barkley’s playing days at Auburn concluded, so maybe it’s too early to say who was a better shooter.
Either way, we’ll wait for Barkley’s rebuttal which is hopefully something better than his suggestion of Syracuse playing man-to-man defense.
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