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Duke Recruiting: Zion Williamson Wins McDonald’s Game Dunk Contest

Duke’s incoming freshman was spectacular as usual in his latest dunk competition triumph.

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Zion Williamson
Zion Williamson, airborn

If you didn’t see it or hear about it, Zion Williamson won the McDonald’s dunk competition. Here’s a sample of what he threw down.

He’s a spectacular talent and we’re going to relish watching this sort of thing in Cameron. Our questions about Williams are about his skill level and his conditioning.

Dunking is a blast but there are a lot of amazing dunkers who didn’t master the rest of the game and never went very far. He’s an odd sized player - 6-6 and still listed at about 270 although he looks like he’s lost weight lately.

He reminds us a bit of Charles Barkley, but Barkley developed tremendous skill. He could shoot, rebound, defend, block shots, run a fast break and could take on much bigger guys and punk them.

You have to admit, 6-4 power forwards are pretty rare.

The other great thing about Barkley was that in college, he, like Williams, was really big. Barkley topped out at about 300. During the tournament this year he mentioned that while at Auburn he really looked forward to playing Indiana but one team (we think Auburn but that might have been the Richmond/Dick Tarrant win over Indiana) was upset.

He wanted to play IU because Bob Knight had cut him from the Olympic team and part of the reason Knight cut him was that Barkley was so overweight.

He took care of that in the NBA, getting down to around 250, and he could run all day (for Barkley it went both ways: he didn’t want to get drafted by the 76ers so he tried to gain 20 pounds in two days. True story. Didn’t work).

That’s going to be a challenge for Williamson too although he looks to be in far better shape now than he did in this video where he looked like a chubby teenager - albeit one who could do extraordinary things.

But he still looked heavy for a basketball player.

In that Barkley link above, Sir Charles says that as long as things come easily it’s hard to know that you’re lazy:

“I was lazy. First of all, you don’t know you’re lazy until you move to the next level. Your level of laziness is dictated by your level of success. Think about it. I’m 300 pounds, but I’m leading the SEC in rebounding. So, like, I don’t *******’ think I’m lazy.”

Mose Malone set him straight. When Barkley asked why he wasn’t playing more, Malone said “because you’re fat and lazy.”

So he quit being lazy and changed his body.

Williamson could be different. He might be able to carry 270. We can’t help but wonder what he would be like at 250 though. Put a guy like that in supreme physical condition, help him polish his skills and he’s scary good.

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