If you follow high school, college, or NBA basketball, you’re likely to recognize the name Zion Williamson. He was a high school basketball sensation who had supporters like Drake in his corner, but he didn’t focus exclusively on basketball entirely during his school days.
Zion Williamson has not revealed his SAT scores, but they were good enough to see to it that he could attend Duke University. In high school, he was a phenomenal basketball player and — surprisingly — an equally phenomenal poet.
Don’t worry if you haven’t followed Zion Williamson throughout his incredible journey, as this article will fill you in on what you need to know about this rising basketball star. For information on who Zion is and what his experience was like in school — plus a startling revelation from one of his former teachers — be sure to read this article until the end.
Who is Zion Williamson?
Zion Lateef Williamson was born on 6 July 2000 in Salisbury, North Carolina, to parents Sharonda Sampson and Lateef Williamson. Both of his parents were athletes, with his mother running track and his father playing football at college levels.
When he was five years old, Zion had already decided that he was going to be a college basketball star. His parents divorced that same year and his mother got remarried to Lee Anderson, who was a former college basketball player.
Zion began taking this goal seriously at the age of nine and he started with his now-famous 5:00 a.m. training sessions. These early morning training sessions proved worth it as he joined the Amateur Athletic Union where he played against — and beat — athletes up to four years his senior.
He enjoyed a successful school sports career and by the time he graduated, he had 16 scholarship offers to choose from. Today, he is a professional basketball player who stands a whopping 6 ft 1 in high and weighs 284 lb.
Zion Williamson’s Education
Zion attended Spartanburg Day School from kindergarten through to the twelfth grade. This small independent school that is known almost exclusively for its academics is located in Spartanburg Country, South Carolina.
Though it’s not known what his SAT score was, what is known is that Zion was academically inclined. His former coach, Lee Sartor, says “He was definitely better than a lot of the kids from a basketball IQ perspective.”
Clips of Zion’s impressive court performances went viral and Drake became one of the youngster’s most vocal supporters. When speaking of his unlikely friendship with the rapper, Zion said “One thing I’ll say about Drake is that he never talks about me going to any schools. I know people think that, but he has never done that… He’s like a big bro and I really appreciate that about him.”
Zion’s impressive stats — not to mention impressive social media following — meant that he was spoilt for choice when it came time to pick a university. He was offered 16 scholarship opportunities by schools like N.C. State University, the University of Kansas, the University of South Carolina, Clemson University, and Duke University.
Despite numerous recruiting experts predicting that he would opt for Clemson, Zion surprised everyone by accepting Duke’s offer. Though it is believed that he chose the school to learn from legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski, serious allegations have been made that the real reason he picked Duke was that his parents were receiving money from “people acting on behalf of Duke.”
Zion Williamson: The Poet
One of Zion’s former teachers, Bill Pell, held a yearlong elective creative writing class that Zion took part in. Bill says “I hope he won’t mind me saying this, but he’s a hell of a poet. The kid can write.” He was a great poet, and he certainly didn’t know it.
Bill describes Zion’s entrance to the world of writing as “cautious” and states that, after some one-on-one conversations, “Then all he did was write poems. And the deeper we got into the year, the more complicated and sophisticated they became. They were remarkable.”
The now-retired professor played a big part in Zion’s high school experience. At the end of the academic year, Zion thanked Bill for pushing him and wrote “As my high school journey ends, I wish you could go with me. Instead, I will take the lessons you have taught me and apply them to my next chapter.”