Zion Williamson, the 6-7 manchild who graced the cover of SLAM 210 was knocked out of bracket play Thursday night by Game Elite–the program that he ran with for the last couple of summers—and will now play in the consolation bracket for the rest of the tournament.
Playing a truly special group of 2019 prospects up on the 17U level, this Game Elite squad features the likes of Ashton Hagans, Christian Brown, Josh Nickelberry, and CJ Walker. The aforementioned four are all ranked in the top-50 nationally and as a team, Game Elite finished in first place of the Derrick Rose division of the adidas Gauntlet. Still, they knew that they had quite the task at hand with attempting to stop Zion in his city.
“Simple. We knew there is no officially stopping Zion. We knew he was going to get his,” Game Elite coach Chris Williams told SLAM after the game on the defensive game plan. “But, we must play defense as a team to stop the others and not let Zion get to the rim at ease. We just tried to make it hard on him with help-side defense.”
Coach Williams and his squad executed to perfection and walked away with a 73-57 win over South Carolina Supreme. SLAM’s top player in the Class of 2018 finished with 32 points, 13 boards, and 3 simply ridiculous blocks. He shot 11-22 from the field, but just 1-7 from the three point line. Game Elite, on the other hand, came with a more balanced attack. Top-25 wing Christian Brown led the way with 15 points and did not shy away from the hyped matchup. Top-25 point guard Ashton Hagans was the catalyst, controlling the tempo of the game and finishing with 7 assists.
Zion Williamson just demolished the ball and backboard with this jaw-dropping block. Whole gym went silent when he went down. 😳 pic.twitter.com/I74OPa9Eeu
— SLAM HS Hoops (@SLAMonline_HS) July 13, 2017
For an early July live period game, the standing room only crowd was about as hyped as you could get, but Game Elite’s coach had his 2019 unit ready to go to battle.
“Going into the game, they were super excited to play against Zion in that atmosphere because they knew it was going to be crazy and the local crowd was going to come out,” Williams admitted. “Both his name and our team name is buzzing right now, so we knew it was going to be a good game.”
Big thanks to Ballislife for the video