Cazzie Lee Russell is an American former professional basketball player and coach. Russell was the first overall pick of the 1966 NBA draft. In 1962, while playing at Chicago's Carver High School, Russell was named the Chicago Sun-Times Boy's Player of the Year. Russell played college basketball at the University of Michigan. Along with Bill Buntin, Russell led the Wolverines to three consecutive Big Ten Conference titles and to Final Four appearances in 1964 and 1965, losing in the final game 91-80 to defending national champion UCLA and John Wooden in 1965. In 1966, Russell averaged 30.8 points per game and was named the College Basketball Player of the Year. Crisler Arena, which opened in 1967, has been dubbed The House. Russell was initiated into Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity - Sigma Chapter in 1964. Russell was drafted by the New York Knicks with the first overall pick of the 1966 NBA draft, playing for them for five seasons. While playing for the Knicks he was named to the 1967 All-Rookie Team and won the NBA Finals in 1970.
In 1971, he was traded to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Jerry Lucas and appeared in the 1972 NBA All-Star Game. In 1974, Russell signed with the Los Angeles Lakers when the Warriors did not offer him a no-cut contract. While with the Lakers he became the last player to wear the number 32 and 33 jerseys before Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. In 1978, he signed with the Chicago Bulls. In total, Russell spent 12 seasons in the NBA. During the 1978–79 season, Russell player for the Great Falls Sky of the Western Basketball Association, he ended his career after the 1980–81 season when he played for the Philadelphia Kings of the Continental Basketball Association. In 1981, he became the head coach for the Lancaster Lightning of the CBA, he guided the team to the 1981–82 league championship. During the playoffs, with his team depleted by injuries, Russell came out of retirement and played for the Lightning in the final game of the league championship series, played in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Russell coached the Wyoming Wildcatters, Grand Rapids Hoops and Columbus Horizon of the CBA and the Mid-Michigan Great Lakers in the Global Basketball Association. He served as assistant coach of the Atlanta Hawks for two seasons. Russell was the head coach of the men's basketball team at the Savannah College of Art and Design for 13 seasons, until the college eliminated the sport in 2009, he still remains at the college in an administrative capacity. He served as an assistant coach at Armstrong State University until 2017, he spent several years as head coach at Centennial High School in Columbus, during the mid-1990s before taking the job in Georgia. During the 1960s, while with the Knicks, Russell was part of the New York Army National Guard's Fighting 69th Regiment. In 2006, Russell was voted as one of the 100 Legends of the IHSA Boys Basketball Tournament, a group of former players and coaches in honor of the 100 anniversary of the IHSA boys basketball tournament. Russell received the Bobby Jones Award in 2015 at the Athletes in Action All Star Breakfast, held each year at the NBA All Star Weekend.
In 2016 Russell was the recipient of the Coach Wooden "Keys to Life" Award at the Athletes in Action Legends of the Hardwood Breakfast, held each year at the Final Four. University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor
Chris Mullin (basketball)
Christopher Paul Mullin is an American retired professional basketball player and former head coach of the St. John's Red Storm, he served as special advisor for the Sacramento Kings and general manager of the Golden State Warriors. He is a two-time Olympic Gold medalist and a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. Mullin played shooting guard and small forward in the NBA from 1985 to 2001. During his playing time at St. John's University, he was named Big East Player of the Year three times and was a member of the 1984 U. S. Men's Olympic Basketball team, Mullin was chosen as the seventh pick by the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the 1985 NBA draft, he returned to the Olympics in 1992 as a member of the "Dream Team", the first American Olympic basketball team to include professional players. He played with the Warriors from the 1985–86 until the 1996–97 season. Thereafter, Mullin played with the Indiana Pacers from 1997 until the 1999–2000 season, he retired after the 2000–01 season, playing for his original team, the Warriors.
On March 30, 2015, he was named 20th head coach of the St. John's University men's basketball team, his alma mater. On April 9, 2019 he stepped down as the head coach of the St. John’s University men’s baseketball team. Mullin was born in New York; as a young player in New York, he studied the games of Knicks stars Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe while admiring Larry Bird and wearing #17 in honor of John Havlicek. As a youth, he traveled to the Bronx and Harlem, in predominately black neighborhoods, to play against the best basketball players in New York City, his name began to spread while playing CYO basketball at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish on Flatlands Avenue, he was a winner of the 1974 "Elks Hoops Shoot", a national free throw contest for youth. Along with playing CYO basketball at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Mullin attended Lou Carnesecca's basketball camp with future Xaverian teammates Roger McCready, Danny Treacy, Jimmy Howard, Gerard Shepard, Mike O'Reilly, Joe Cannizzo and Pete Cannizzo.
Mullin began his high school career at Power Memorial Academy, where he was a teammate of Mario Elie. He transferred as a junior to Xaverian High School and led them to a New York Class A state championship in 1981. After being selected as New York State's "Mr. Basketball", Mullin was recruited by the Hall of Fame coach Lou Carnesecca to play for St. John's University in nearby Queens. After signing, Mullin averaged 16.6 points per game in his freshman year. In his subsequent three years for the Redmen, he was named Big East Player of the Year three times, named to the All-America team three times, played for the gold medal-winning 1984 Olympic team, received the 1985 Wooden Award and USBWA College Player of the Year; as a senior who averaged 19.8 points per game, Mullin led St. John's to the 1985 Final Four and its first #1 ranking since 1951. Mullin, who averaged 19.5 points per game, finished his career as the Redmen's all-time leading scorer with 2,440 career points. He holds the distinction of being one of only three players in history to win the Haggerty Award three times.
From 1983–1985, Mullin was named the Big East conference's player of the year, making him the only men's basketball player to receive this award three different seasons. In the 1985 NBA draft, the Golden State Warriors selected Mullin in the first round with the seventh pick. In Mullin's first three seasons with the Warriors, he was a spot-up shooting guard playing in the backcourt alongside Eric "Sleepy" Floyd. In his second season, 1986–87, the Warriors advanced to the Western Conference semifinals under George Karl, where they lost to the eventual NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers; the next season, Don Nelson became the Warriors' coach and had plans to move Mullin to small forward. During his third season in the NBA, Mullin admitted to Nelson. After missing several practices, Mullin was suspended entered an alcohol rehabilitation program. For five consecutive seasons, from 1988 until 1993, Mullin scored an average of 25 or more points and five rebounds. Additionally, the Warriors made five straight playoff appearances.
Mullin, Mitch Richmond, 1989 first-round draftee Tim Hardaway formed the trio "Run TMC" that were the focal stars of this playoff run. A five-time All-Star, Mullin won Olympic gold twice—as a member of the 1984 amateur team, for the 1992 Dream Team. During the 1992 Summer Olympics, who started two games, averaged 12.9 points per game, shot 61.9% from the field and 53.8% from the three-point land. In 1993, Nelson traded for Chris Webber on NBA Draft day, hoping to make the Warriors stronger in the frontcourt. Mullin's body began breaking down, he began to miss significant numbers of games; the Warriors had a successful first season with Webber, but he and Nelson began to bicker over his use as a player. This led Nelson to resign, subsequent coaches saw Mullin as injury-prone and began to center the team around Latrell Sprewell. Mullin was traded after the 1996–97 season to the Indiana Pacers for second-year center Erick Dampier and NBA journeyman Duane Ferrell. In his first season with the Pacers, coached by Larry Bird, Mullin started all 82 games, averaged 11.3 points per game, helped the Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to the Chicago Bulls in game seven.
Bird began to pha
Michael Jeffrey Jordan known by his initials, MJ, is an American former professional basketball player, the principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association. He played 15 seasons in the NBA for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards, his biography on the official NBA website states: "By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time." He was one of the most marketed athletes of his generation and was considered instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. Jordan played three seasons for coach Dean Smith at the University of North Carolina; as a freshman, he was a member of the Tar Heels' national championship team in 1982. Jordan joined the Bulls in 1984 as the third overall draft pick, he emerged as a league star and entertained crowds with his prolific scoring. His leaping ability, demonstrated by performing slam dunks from the free throw line in Slam Dunk Contests, earned him the nicknames Air Jordan and His Airness.
He gained a reputation for being one of the best defensive players in basketball. In 1991, he won his first NBA championship with the Bulls, followed that achievement with titles in 1992 and 1993, securing a "three-peat". Although Jordan abruptly retired from basketball before the beginning of the 1993–94 NBA season, started a new career in Minor League Baseball, he returned to the Bulls in March 1995 and led them to three additional championships in 1996, 1997, 1998, as well as a then-record 72 regular-season wins in the 1995–96 NBA season. Jordan retired for a second time in January 1999, but returned for two more NBA seasons from 2001 to 2003 as a member of the Wizards. Jordan's individual accolades and accomplishments include six NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Awards, ten scoring titles, five MVP Awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honors, fourteen NBA All-Star Game selections, three All-Star Game MVP Awards, three steals titles, the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award.
He holds the NBA records for highest career regular season scoring average and highest career playoff scoring average. In 1999, he was named the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN, was second to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press' list of athletes of the century. Jordan is a two-time inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, having been enshrined in 2009 for his individual career, again in 2010 as part of the group induction of the 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team, he became a member of the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2015. Jordan is known for his product endorsements, he fueled the success of Nike's Air Jordan sneakers, which were introduced in 1984 and remain popular today. Jordan starred as himself in the 1996 film Space Jam. In 2006, he became part-owner and head of basketball operations for the Charlotte Bobcats, bought a controlling interest in 2010. In 2014, Jordan became the first billionaire player in NBA history, he is the third-richest African-American, behind Robert F. Oprah Winfrey.
Jordan was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Deloris, who worked in banking, James R. Jordan Sr. an equipment supervisor. His family moved to Wilmington, North Carolina. Jordan is the fourth of five children, he has two older brothers, Larry Jordan and James R. Jordan, Jr. one older sister and one younger sister, Roslyn. Jordan's brother James retired in 2006 as the Command Sergeant Major of the 35th Signal Brigade of the XVIII Airborne Corps in the U. S. Army. Jordan attended Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington, where he highlighted his athletic career by playing basketball and football, he tried out for the varsity basketball team during his sophomore year, but at 5'11", he was deemed too short to play at that level. His taller friend, Harvest Leroy Smith, was the only sophomore to make the team. Motivated to prove his worth, Jordan became the star of Laney's junior varsity team, tallied several 40-point games; the following summer, he trained rigorously. Upon earning a spot on the varsity roster, Jordan averaged more than 25 points per game over his final two seasons of high school play.
As a senior, he was selected to play in the 1981 McDonald's All-American Game and scored 30 points, after averaging 27 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists per game for the season. Jordan was recruited by numerous college basketball programs, including Duke, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. In 1981, Jordan accepted a basketball scholarship to North Carolina, where he majored in cultural geography; as a freshman in coach Dean Smith's team-oriented system, he was named ACC Freshman of the Year after he averaged 13.4 ppg on 53.4% shooting. He made the game-winning jump shot in the 1982 NCAA Championship game against Georgetown, led by future NBA rival Patrick Ewing. Jordan described this shot as the major turning point in his basketball career. During his three seasons at North Carolina, he averaged 17.7 ppg on 54.0% shooting, added 5.0 rpg. He was selected by consensus to the NCAA All-American First Team in both his sophomore and junior seasons. After winning the Naismith and the Wooden College Player of the Year awards in 1984, Jordan left North Carolina one year before his scheduled graduation to enter the 1984 NBA draft.
The Chicago Bulls selected Jordan after Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Bowie. One of the primary reasons why Jordan was not drafted
Duke Blue Devils men's basketball
The Duke Blue Devils men's basketball team represents Duke University in NCAA Division I college basketball and competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The team is fourth all-time in wins of any NCAA men's basketball program, is coached by Mike Krzyzewski. Duke has won 5 NCAA Championships and appeared in 11 Championship Games and 16 Final Fours, has an NCAA-best.755 NCAA tournament winning percentage. Eleven Duke players have been named the National Player of the Year, 71 players have been selected in the NBA Draft. Additionally, Duke has 36 players named 14 Academic All-Americans. Duke has been the Atlantic Coast Conference Champions a record 21 times, lays claim to 19 ACC regular season titles. Prior to joining the ACC, Duke won the Southern Conference championships five times. Duke has finished the season ranked No. 1 in the AP poll seven times and is the all time leader in total weeks ranked as the number one team in the nation by the AP with 135 weeks. Additionally, the Blue Devils have the second longest streak in the AP Top 25 in history with 200 consecutive appearances from 1996 to 2007, trailing only UCLA's 221 consecutive polls from 1966 to 1980.
Adapted from Duke University ArchivesIn 1906, Wilbur Wade Card, Trinity College's Athletic Director and a member of the Class of 1900, introduced the game of basketball to Trinity. The January 30 issue of The Trinity Chronicle headlined the new sport on its front page. Trinity's first game ended in a loss to Wake Forest, 24–10; the game was played in the Angier B. Duke Gymnasium known as The Ark; the Trinity team won its first title in 1920, the state championship, by beating the North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering 25 to 24. Earlier in the season they had beaten the University of North Carolina 19–18 in the first match-up between the two schools. Trinity college became Duke University. Billy Werber, Class of 1930, became Duke's first All-American in basketball; the Gothic-style West Campus opened that year, with a new gym to be named for Coach Card. The Indoor Stadium opened in 1940, it was referred to as an "Addition" to the gymnasium. Part of its cost was paid for with the proceeds from the Duke football team's appearance in the 1938 Rose Bowl.
In 1972 it would be named for Eddie Cameron, head coach from 1929 to 1942. In 1952, Dick Groat became the first Duke player to be named National Player of the Year. Duke left the Southern Conference to become a charter member of the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1953; the Duke team under Vic Bubas made its first appearance in the Final Four in 1963, losing 94–75 to Loyola in the semifinal. The next year, Bubas' team reached the national title game, losing to the Bruins of UCLA, who claimed 10 titles in the next 12 years. Bob Verga was Duke's star player in 1967; the basketball program won its 1000th game in 1974, making Duke only the eighth school in NCAA history to reach that figure. In a turnaround, Coach Bill Foster's 1978 Blue Devils, who had gone 2–10 in the ACC the previous year, won the conference tournament and went on to the NCAA championship game, where they fell to Kentucky. Gene Banks, Mike Gminski and Jim Spanarkel ran the floor. Mike Krzyzewski has been at Duke since 1980, his many accomplishments include: 5 National Championships – 2nd most all time 12 Final Fours as well as five in a row from 1988 to 1992.
Now tied for most all time with John Wooden at 12. 15 Elite Eights 23 Sweet Sixteens and nine straight from 1998–2006 33 NCAA tournament berths 91 NCAA tournament wins 13 No. 1 seeds 25 conference titles, 10 of the 14 ACC Tournament Titles from 1998–99 through 2016–17 14 30-win seasons 32 20-win seasons Number 1 AP ranking in 17 of the past 28 seasons 7 Naismith College Player of the Year Awards 9 National Defensive Players of the Year Awards 26 AP All-Americans 14 consensus first team All-Americans 11 NBA top-10 picks: T-1st 23 NBA Draft first round picks 1071 Career winsKrzyzewski's teams made the Final Four in 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2010 and 2015. Duke upset the favored UNLV Runnin' Rebels 79–77 in the Final Four in 1991, a rematch of the 1990 final in which Duke lost by 30 points; the team, led by Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill, Thomas Hill, went on to defeat Kansas 72–65 to win the university's first NCAA Championship. Ranked #1 all season and favored to repeat as national champions in 1992, Duke took part in a game "acclaimed by many the greatest college basketball game played," according to ESPN.
In the Elite Eight, Duke met the Rick Pitino-led Kentucky Wildcats. It appeared Kentucky had sealed the win in overtime when guard Sean Woods hit a running shot off the glass in the lane to put Kentucky up by one with 2.1 seconds left on the clock. After a timeout, Duke's Grant Hill threw a full-court pass to Christian Laettner. Laettner took one dribble and nailed a turn-around jumper at the buzzer to send Duke into the Final Four with a 104–103 victory. Duke went on to defeat the Sixth-seeded Michigan 71 -- 51, they would meet Kentucky for another classic regional final game, but blow a 17-point second half lead in losing to the Wildcats. The Blue Devils would lose the 1994 title game to Arkansas and their "Forty Minutes of Hell" defense; the next two seasons would see them fall to just 31–31, though they made the 1996 tournament with an 18–12 record, 8–8 in conference play. They would fall in the 1999 title game, this time to Jim Calhoun and the UCONN Huskies
The small forward known as the three, is one of the five positions in a regulation basketball game. Small forwards are shorter and leaner than power forwards and centers, but taller and larger than either of the guard positions; the small forward is considered to be the most versatile of the five main basketball positions. In the NBA, small forwards range from 6' 6" to 6' 10" while in the WNBA, small forwards are between 5' 11" to 6' 2". Small forwards are responsible for scoring points, defending and as secondary or tertiary rebounders behind the power forward and center, although a few have considerable passing responsibilities. Many small forwards in professional basketball are prolific scorers; the styles with which small forwards amass their points vary widely. Some players at the position are accurate shooters, others prefer to initiate physical contact with opposing players, still others are slashers who possess jump shots. In some cases, small forwards position as off-the-ball specialists.
Small forwards who are defensive specialists are versatile as they can guard multiple positions using their size and strength
Blake Austin Griffin is an American professional basketball player for the Detroit Pistons of the National Basketball Association. He played college basketball for the Oklahoma Sooners, when he was named the Consensus National Player of the Year as a sophomore. Griffin was selected first overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2009 NBA draft, has since been a six-time NBA All-Star and a four-time All-NBA selection. Griffin won four high school state titles at Oklahoma Christian School under his father, head coach Tommy Griffin. Griffin played two seasons of college ball for the Sooners before entering the 2009 NBA draft, when he was selected by the Clippers. During the final pre-season game of 2009, he broke his left kneecap, had surgery, missed the entire 2009–10 season. Griffin made his NBA debut as a rookie the following season, in which he was selected as an All-Star, won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, was named the NBA Rookie of the Year. In 2011, Sports Illustrated called him one of the NBA's 15 Greatest Rookies of All Time.
Griffin was born on March 16, 1989, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to Tommy Griffin, of Afro-Haitian descent, Gail Griffin, white. His father was a basketball track standout at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. Griffin and his older brother, Taylor Griffin, were home-schooled by their mother from first grade until Taylor was in the tenth grade and Blake was in eighth. Growing up, Griffin was good friends with future NFL quarterback Sam Bradford. Bradford's father owned a gym where Taylor played basketball. Before deciding to focus on basketball, Griffin played baseball as a first baseman and football as a wide receiver and tight end. In 2003, Griffin followed his brother to Oklahoma Christian School, where they played under their father, head coach Tommy Griffin, they played together during the 2003–04 and 2004–05 high school seasons, winning two state basketball championships. In his freshman year, the Oklahoma Christian Saints posted a perfect 29–0 season and won the Class 3A boys state championship game at the State Fair Arena against Riverside Indian School, 55–50.
In Griffin's sophomore year, the Saints repeated as Class 3A state champions, defeating Sequoyah-Tahlequah 51–34, where he scored 12 points and grabbed 9 rebounds. The team finished the season with a 24–2 record, with Griffin averaging 13.6 points per game. He was named to the Little All-City All-State team in what was his final high school season with his brother. Taylor went on to accept a scholarship to play college basketball for the Oklahoma Sooners. During the summer of 2005, Blake was a member of the Athletes First AAU team, where he played against Kevin Durant and Ty Lawson's AAU team, the DC Blue Devils. During Griffin's junior season, the Oklahoma Christian basketball team was moved down to Class 2A from Class 3A; as he began his third season with the Saints, he was developing as a player, as he led them to a third straight state championship. He scored 22 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, recorded 6 blocks in the finals as Oklahoma Christian defeated Washington High School, 57–40, he was named the state tournament MVP, the Saints finished the season 27–1, with Griffin averaging 21.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 4.9 assists.
For his efforts, he was named The Oklahoman Player of the Year and to the Tulsa World Boys All-State First Team. His play attracted the attention of the new basketball head coach for Oklahoma, Jeff Capel, who first heard of him through his brother, Taylor; that spring, Capel saw him play for the first time and was impressed. Capel liked the fact that Griffin had not yet become a household name among recruiters and felt he was the player he needed to rebuild the Oklahoma men's basketball program with. Griffin had been considering Duke, North Carolina and Texas, but his brother sold him on joining Oklahoma when he raved about the direction of the Sooners and the chance to play together again for his home state. Griffin committed to Oklahoma before the start of his senior season, he went on to average 26.8 points, 15.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.9 blocks per game as a senior while leading the team to a 26–3 record. In a game against Oklahoma City Southeast, he finished with 41 points, 28 rebounds, 10 assists.
The Saints advanced through the playoffs, defeating Crescent in the quarterfinals and Foyil in the semifinals to earn a berth in the Class 2A state championship once again. On March 10, 2007, he played his final high school game in the state title game against Pawnee High School. Griffin registered 22 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks, as the Saints defeated Pawnee 81–50, winning their fourth straight state title, he was named the Class 2A state tournament MVP for the second consecutive year after averaging 26.6 points per game in the tournament. During his four-year run, the Oklahoma Christian Saints posted a 106–6 overall record. Following Griffin's senior year, he was named the Player of the Year by both the Tulsa World and The Oklahoman, he was named to the Oklahoma Boys All-State First Team, EA Sports All-American Second Team and Parade All-American Third Team. Additionally, he was the Gatorade Oklahoma Player of the Year and was selected to the McDonald's All-American and Jordan Brand All-America teams.
At the McDonald's All-American game in Louisville, Kentucky, he won the Powerade Jam Fest slam dunk contest. He was ranked as the nation's 13th best high school senior by HoopScoop, 20th by scout.com and 23rd by rivals.com. HoopScoop rated him as the country's third-best power forward while Rivals.com ranked him sixth and was seventh according to Scout.com. Griffin was one of the highest rated and most decorated recruits at Oklahoma; as a freshman at Oklahoma, he averaged 14.7 points and 9.1
Zion Lateef Williamson is an American college basketball player for the Duke Blue Devils of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Listed at 6 ft 7 in and 285 pounds, he plays the small power forward positions. According to many sports analysts, he is projected to be the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. Born in Salisbury, North Carolina, Williamson attended Spartanburg Day School, where he was a consensus five-star recruit and was ranked among the top five players in the 2018 class, he led his team to three straight state championships and earned South Carolina Mr. Basketball recognition in his senior season. Williamson left high school as a McDonald's All-American, runner-up for Mr. Basketball USA, USA Today All-USA first team honoree. In high school, he drew national attention for his slam dunks. In his freshman season with Duke, Williamson was named ACC Player of the Year and ACC Rookie of the Year, he set the single-game school scoring record for freshmen in January 2019, claimed ACC Rookie of the Week accolades five times, earned AP Player of the Year, Sporting News College Player of the Year recognition and won the Wayman Tisdale Award.
Before starting basketball, Williamson played the quarterback position in football. When he was five years old, he set sights on becoming a college basketball star. At age nine, Williamson began waking up every morning at 5 a.m. to train. He competed in youth leagues with his mother Sharonda Sampson coaching and played for the Sumter Falcons on the Amateur Athletic Union circuit, facing opponents four years older than him. Williamson began working with his stepfather, former college basketball player Lee Anderson, to improve his skills as a point guard, he joined the basketball team at Johnakin Middle School in Marion, South Carolina, where he was again coached by his mother and averaged 20 points per game. In middle school, Williamson lost only three games in two years. In 2013, he guided Johnakin to an 8 -- a conference title. Williamson attended Spartanburg Day School, a small K–12 private school in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he played basketball for the Griffins. Between eighth and ninth grade, he grew from 5 ft 9 in to 6 ft 3 in.
In the summer leading up to his first season, Williamson practiced in the school gym and developed the ability to dunk. At the time, he competed for the South Carolina Hornets AAU team as well, where he was teammates with Ja Morant; as a freshman, Williamson averaged 24.4 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 3.3 steals and 3.0 blocks, earning All-State and All-Region honors. He led Spartanburg Day to a South Carolina Independent School Association state championship game appearance. In March 2015, Williamson took part in the SCISA North-South All-Star Game in Sumter, South Carolina. By his second year in high school, he stood 6 ft 6 in. In his sophomore season, Williamson averaged 28.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.9 blocks, 2.7 steals per game and was named SCISA Region I-2A Player of the Year. He led the Griffins to their first SCISA Region I-2A title in program history. In June 2016, Williamson participated in the National Basketball Players Association Top 100 camp and was its leading scorer. In August, he won the Under Armour Elite 24 showcase dunk contest in New York City.
As a junior, Williamson averaged 36.8 points, 13 rebounds, 3 steals, 2.5 blocks per game. Entering the season, he was among 50 players selected to the Naismith Prep Player of the Year Award watch list. Starting in the 2016–17 season, Williamson was propelled into the national spotlight for his viral highlight videos, he made his season debut on November 15, 2016, recording 42 points and 16 rebounds in a win over Cardinal Newman High School. In the same month, his highlights drew the praise of NBA player Stephen Curry. On November 24, Williamson erupted for 50 points, including 10 dunks, along with 16 rebounds and 5 blocks versus Proviso East High School at the Tournament of Champions. In a 73–53 victory over Gray Collegiate Academy at the Chick-fil-A Classic on December 21, he posted a tournament-record 53 points and 16 rebounds, shooting 25-of-28 from the field. On December 30, Williamson recorded 31 points and 14 rebounds to win most valuable player at the Farm Bureau Insurance Classic. On January 15, 2017, he received nationwide publicity after rapper Drake wore his jersey in an Instagram post.
Williamson surpassed the 2,000-point barrier on January 20, when he tallied 48 points against Oakbrook Preparatory School. On February 14, he led Spartanburg Day past Oakbrook Prep for their first SCISA Region I-2A title, chipping in a game-high 37 points in a 105–49 rout. Williamson broke the state record for most 30-point games in a season, with 27 by the end of the regular season, he repeated as SCISA Region I-2A Player of the Year. High school sports website MaxPreps named him National Junior of the Year and to the High School All-American first team, while USA Today High School Sports gave him All-USA first team recognition. On April 22, 2017, Williamson recorded 26 points and 7 rebounds for his AAU team SC Supreme in a loss to touted recruit Romeo Langford and Twenty Two Vision at an Adidas Gauntlet tournament. In June, he appeared on the cover of basketball magazine Slam. Williamson, in a publicized AAU game on July 27, scored 28 points and led SC Supreme to a 104–92 win over 2019 class recruit LaMelo Ball and Big Ballers at the Adidas Uprising Summer Championships.
In August, he was named MVP of the 2017 Adidas Nations camp after averaging 22.5 points and 7.2 rebounds through 6 games. In his senior season, Williamson averaged 11.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. He debuted on November 15, 2017, erupting for 46 points and 15 rebounds in