Who​ ​You​ ​Taking:​ ​Zion​ ​V​ ​Barrett​ ​battle​ ​for​ ​the​ ​top​ ​spot
By Brandon Blakney

The​ ​2018​ ​cycle​ ​is​ ​absolutely​ ​loaded​ ​with​ ​talent​ ​that​ ​oozes​ ​major​ ​upside​ ​at​ ​the​ ​next​ ​level, two​ ​players​ ​Zion​ ​Williamson​ ​and​ ​RJ​ ​Barrett​ ​stand​ ​tall​ ​among​ ​the​ ​bunch.

Williamson​ ​had​ ​been​ ​number​ ​two​ ​under​ ​Marvin​ ​Bagley​ ​until​ ​his​ ​decision​ ​to​ ​reclass​ ​and join​ ​the​ ​Duke​ ​Blue​ ​Devils​ ​a​ ​year​ ​early.​ ​With​ ​Bagley​ ​out​ ​the​ ​way​ ​it​ ​seemed​ ​Williamson​ ​was​ ​the definitive​ ​top​ ​prospect.​ ​The​ ​most​ ​popular​ ​player​ ​in​ ​prep​ ​ball​ ​has​ ​already​ ​built​ ​a​ ​cult​ ​like​ ​falling on​ ​youtube.​ ​Williamson’s​ ​rim​ ​rocking​ ​jams​ ​cause​ ​a​ ​social​ ​media​ ​frenzy​ ​almost​ ​daily,​ ​and​ ​he’s already​ ​been​ ​deemed​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​most​ ​athletic​ ​players​ ​in​ ​hoops​ ​regardless​ ​of​ ​age​ ​or​ ​level.​ ​The recent​ ​SLAM​ ​cover​ ​solidified​ ​his​ ​name​ ​into​ ​hoops​ ​prestige.

Barrett​ ​changed​ ​the​ ​dynamic​ ​of​ ​the​ ​’18​ ​cycle​ ​when​ ​he​ ​joined​ ​and​ ​knocked​ ​Williamson back​ ​to​ ​number​ ​two.​ ​The​ ​young​ ​Canadian​ ​superstar​ ​has​ ​taken​ ​the​ ​hoops​ ​world​ ​by​ ​storm​ ​the​ ​last six​ ​months​ ​and​ ​proved​ ​a​ ​reclass​ ​was​ ​necessary.​ ​Barrett​ ​led​ ​Monteverde​ ​Academy​ ​to​ ​a​ ​Dicks Nationals​ ​championship​ ​appearance​ ​while​ ​lighting​ ​up​ ​the​ ​field​ ​for​ ​a​ ​smooth​ ​25​ ​points​ ​and​ ​eight boards​ ​per​ ​game.​ ​The​ ​young​ ​stud​ ​also​ ​dominated​ ​presumably​ ​the​ ​toughest​ ​league​ ​on​ ​the​ ​travel ball​ ​circuit,​ ​over​ ​the​ ​summer​ ​he​ ​led​ ​Nike’s​ ​EYBL​ ​league​ ​in​ ​scoring​ ​with​ ​28​ ​points​ ​per​ ​game.

Both​ ​these​ ​players​ ​have​ ​impressed​ ​big​ ​names​ ​already,​ ​Barrett​ ​lit​ ​up​ ​All​ ​Star​ ​weekend​ ​in New​ ​Orleans​ ​during​ ​Basketball​ ​Without​ ​Borders​ ​in​ ​front​ ​of​ ​tons​ ​of​ ​NBA​ ​scouts​ ​and​ ​all​ ​stars, “On the biggest of stages, R.J. Barrett is unbelievable,” said​ ​Corey​ ​Evans​ ​of​ ​Rivals​ ​via​ ​SB Nation. ​ ​​ ​

Williamson​ ​regularly​ ​had​ ​NBA​ ​stars​ ​and​ ​hip​ ​hop​ ​figures​ ​in​ ​to​ ​watch​ ​his​ ​SC​ ​Supreme squad​ ​play​ ​all​ ​over​ ​the​ ​country,​ “He’s
one of the top two or three most athletic players I’ve ever seen in high school basketball, period. Or in life, period”
said​ ​John​ ​Wall​ ​in​ ​an​ ​interview​ ​with Ballislife.

The​ ​debate​ ​will​ ​continue​ ​to​ ​grow​ ​but​ ​the​ ​real​ ​question​ ​is​ ​which​ ​player​ ​is​ ​the​ ​better prospect​ ​ultimately'

Barrett’s​ ​Case​ ​-​ ​​This​ ​dude​ ​led​ ​the​ ​Canadian​ ​U19​ ​program​ ​to​ ​a​ ​gold​ ​medal​ ​and​ ​dropped 38​ ​points​ ​on​ ​team​ ​USA​ ​in​ ​rout​ ​to​ ​possibly​ ​the​ ​biggest​ ​win​ ​in​ ​Canadian​ ​hoops​ ​history.​ ​Barrett​ ​is an​ ​offensive​ ​assassin​ ​capable​ ​of​ ​scoring​ ​the​ ​ball​ ​from​ ​anywhere​ ​on​ ​the​ ​hardwood.​ ​He’s​ ​really excelled​ ​against​ ​older​ ​competition​ ​and​ ​is​ ​held​ ​in​ ​high​ ​regards​ ​within​ ​the​ ​Canadian​ ​hoops landscape,​ ​​ ​Barrett​ ​is​ ​already​ ​considered​ ​the​ ​best​ ​Canadian​ ​prospect​ ​ever.​ ​​ ​Barrett’s​ ​play throughout​ ​that​ ​tournament​ ​and​ ​the​ ​EYBL​ ​solidified​ ​him​ ​as​ ​the​ ​top​ ​prospect​ ​in​ ​high​ ​school within​ ​many​ ​circles.

No​ ​one​ ​has​ ​been​ ​able​ ​to​ ​guard​ ​Barrett​ ​he’s​ ​extremely​ ​polished​ ​on​ ​the​ ​offensive​ ​end. Barrett​ ​has​ ​shown​ ​range​ ​on​ ​his​ ​jumper,​ ​shoots​ ​it​ ​well​ ​off​ ​the​ ​dribble,​ ​and​ ​finishes​ ​at​ ​the​ ​rim​ ​with either​ ​hand.​ ​Defensively​ ​the​ ​6’7​ ​wing​ ​has​ ​major​ ​upside​ ​and​ ​may​ ​blossom​ ​into​ ​a​ ​lockdown defender​ ​down​ ​the​ ​road.

Barrett​ ​effects​ ​the​ ​game​ ​in​ ​so​ ​many​ ​ways​ ​and​ ​one​ ​underrated​ ​skill​ ​is​ ​his​ ​ability​ ​to​ ​create scoring​ ​opportunities​ ​for​ ​others.​ ​Barrett​ ​can​ ​completely​ ​take​ ​over​ ​games​ ​or​ ​shift​ ​into​ ​playmaker and​ ​drop​ ​off​ ​dimes​ ​to​ ​teammates.​ ​When​ ​he’s​ ​in​ ​attack​ ​mode​ ​there​ ​isn’t​ ​much​ ​defenders​ ​can​ ​do​ ​at this​ ​stage​ ​to​ ​keep​ ​Barrett​ ​out​ ​the​ ​lane.

Williamson’s​ ​Case -​ ​​The​ ​man-​ ​child​ ​is​ ​literally​ ​a​ ​walking​ ​highlight​ ​reel,​ ​crowds​ ​pack​ ​in early​ ​for​ ​pregame​ ​warmups​ ​just​ ​to​ ​see​ ​what​ ​insane​ ​dunk​ ​Williamson​ ​will​ ​put​ ​down​ ​next.​ ​There hasn’t​ ​been​ ​a​ ​more​ ​hyped​ ​or​ ​athletic​ ​prospect​ ​since​ ​one​ ​King​ ​James​ ​wore​ ​the​ ​Green​ ​and​ ​Gold.

Williamson​ ​also​ ​built​ ​an​ ​impressive​ ​resume​ ​;​ ​he​ ​was​ ​named​ ​MVP​ ​of​ ​the​ ​NBPA​ ​top​ ​100 camp,​ ​dominated​ ​the​ ​Adidas​ ​Gauntlet​ ​league​ ​in​ ​route​ ​of​ ​a​ ​championship​ ​appearance​ ​with​ ​his​ ​SC Supreme​ ​squad,​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​averaged​ ​36​ ​and​ ​13​ ​for​ ​Spartanburg​ ​Day​ ​who​ ​will​ ​be​ ​pursuing​ ​a three​ ​peat​ ​as​ ​2A​ ​private​ ​school​ ​state​ ​champions.

Recently​ ​the​ ​Spartanburg​ ​product​ ​was​ ​invited​ ​to​ ​team​ ​USA​ ​minicamp​ ​along​ ​with​ ​other top​ ​2018​ ​prospects.​ ​Williamson​ ​is​ ​a​ ​beast​ ​in​ ​transition​ ​and​ ​has​ ​the​ ​ups​ ​to​ ​dunk​ ​anything​ ​he​ ​feels but​ ​that​ ​isn’t​ ​the​ ​entire​ ​story.​ ​It’s​ ​obvious​ ​he’s​ ​most​ ​effective​ ​in​ ​the​ ​paint,​ ​but​ ​Williamson​ ​has shown​ ​promise​ ​from​ ​mid​ ​range​ ​and​ ​deeper.​ ​Williamson​ ​is​ ​surprisingly​ ​nimble​ ​weaving​ ​through traffic​ ​for​ ​easy​ ​finishes,​ ​he​ ​is​ ​capable​ ​of​ ​taking​ ​defenders​ ​off​ ​the​ ​dribble​ ​as​ ​well​ ​before​ ​putting them​ ​through​ ​the​ ​rim.

If​ ​Williamson​ ​continues​ ​to​ ​develop​ ​his​ ​​jump shot​ ​there​ ​is​ ​potential​ ​to​ ​be​ ​an elite​ ​player​ ​at​ ​the​ ​collegiate​ ​level​ ​and​ ​beyond.​ ​Defensively​ ​Williamson​ ​has​ ​natural​ ​shot​ ​blocking instincts​ ​and​ ​he​ ​has​ ​mastered​ ​the​ ​chase​ ​down​ ​block.​ ​The​ ​youngster​ ​has​ ​the​ ​strength​ ​and​ ​lateral quickness​ ​to​ ​guard​ ​all​ ​five​ ​positions. Ultimately​ ​only​ ​time​ ​will​ ​tell​ ​but​ ​both​ ​prospects​ ​look​ ​like​ ​future​ ​superstars​ ​at​ ​the​ ​pro level​ ​and​ ​have​ ​been​ ​treated​ ​as​ ​such.​ ​Two​ ​different​ ​players​ ​considered​ ​the​ ​best​ ​in​ ​their​ ​respective countries​ ​could​ ​take​ ​the​ ​game​ ​by​ ​storm.

We​ ​could​ ​be​ ​witnessing​ ​a​ ​future​ ​rivalry​ ​on​ ​all​ ​levels​ ​the​ ​USA​ ​and​ ​Canada​ ​look​ ​to​ ​be in​ ​good​ ​hands.

Share to...