Zion Williamson Fever reached a new apex on Tuesday night as No. 4 Duke opened the 2018-19 college basketball season with a blowout win over No. 2 Kentucky in the annual Champions Classic.
The 6-foot-6 freshman impressed the nation in his first big test as Williamson finished with 28 points and seven rebounds on 11-for-13 shooting. Since Williamson hadn’t played legitimate college competition on the national stage before, many across the country tuned in to see if the Duke freshman would live up to the hype.
That included Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Kerr didn’t bring up Williamson directly by name — so he would avoid any kind of tampering fine. But it was easy to tell who Kerr was talking about with his effusive praise.
“I saw some kid on Duke last night who was pretty impressive,” Kerr said. “I probably can’t say anything more in mentioning his name. The one who is 285 [pounds]. I thought LeBron was a one-shot deal, but apparently, the next guy is coming. And before I get fined, I’m going to change the subject.”
Kerr was initially asked a question about Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo and opted to pivot to talking about Williamson — so he was clearly impressed by what he saw with the Duke freshman. Pleading with NBA commissioner Adam Silver not to fine him for talking about a college prospect, Kerr drew plenty of chuckles from the pool of reporters.
This isn’t the first time, or the last time, that Williamson is going to get compared to NBA greats like LeBron. But hearing it come from the mouth of a respected NBA championship head coach like Kerr is different than hearing it from a typical talking head.