Zion Williamson added another piece of hardware to his crowded mantel.
The Spartanburg Day junior picked up MVP honors in the West team’s 129-119 victory over the East on Saturday in the South Carolina Hoops Festival’s Junior Showcase at Irmo High School.
Williamson scored 30 points on 13-of-14 shooting. The top-rated recruit also grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots.
“I just love environments like this, coming out, putting on a show and having fun,” Williamson said. “I knew most of the players, and we are friends on and off the court. We just like to come out and have fun.”
Williamson’s decision to play in the game brought even more attention to the event in its second year. The Festival, put on by former South Carolina point guard Carey Rich, included four games and was moved to Irmo High to accommodate the larger crowd to see Williamson.
The junior phenom didn’t waste any time putting the crowd into a frenzy. Williamson had a between-the-legs dunk and one-handed slam in warm-ups, then took an alley-oop from Wilson guard and Columbia native Alex Caldwell on the game’s first play.
“We actually drew that up,” said Caldwell, who finished with 22 points and eight assists. “I told him how he ran that play in Spartanburg, we were going to run it in Columbia.”
Williamson’s other highlights included a 360 dunk and a one-handed slam in which he went over West teammate Isaiah Moore, who was in the lane when Williamson took off. Williamson played more than 30 minutes in the game, which used two 20-minute halves.
The Junior Showcase puts a bow on a banner season for Williamson, who is ranked No. 1 in Class of 2018, according to 247Sports. The 6-foot-8 star averaged 36.8 points, 13 rebounds and led Spartanburg Day to its second consecutive SCISA 2A title.
It was his powerful dunks that helped him burst onto the national landscape. Three of his dunks landed on ESPN’s Top 10 plays and he recently appeared for an interview on SportsCenter.
Williamson has a blog on USA Today and exchanges messages with rapper Drake, who wore his Spartanburg Day jersey on Instagram post. Last week, Williamson was courtside on an unofficial visit at North Carolina for the UNC-Duke game.
“My life is completely different now,” said Williamson, who had five college offers last summer, but has seen that total swell to more than 30. “Everywhere I go now, people recognize me now. I have to work harder and harder because I have a target on my back. So I’ve got to continue to work.”
Williamson said he isn’t close to making a college decision, adding his recruiting is wide open despite ESPN’s Jeff Goodman saying he was down to Duke, Kentucky and South Carolina. He plans on making his college choice after his senior season.
Williamson will play AAU basketball this summer for Adidas’ sponsored SC Supreme, which will be coached by his stepfather, Lee Anderson. A few of the players from Saturday’s game, including Andrew Jackson’s Dontarius James, will be on the team.
West: Trey McGowens 14, Zion Williamson 30, Alex Caldwell 22, Isaiah Moore 15, Robert Braswell 15, Grant Singleton 10, Gabe Bryant 12, Jaron Williams 11. East: Jermaine Patterson 32, Malik Wilcox 21, Jimmy Nichols 17, Slawson 7, Hill 8, Donatrius James 20, Kelly 3, Duncan 6, Prickett 5.