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.
(h/t: The Athletic’s Anthony Slater)
Stever Kerr and his wife, Margot, donated a $1 million dollars to their alma mater, the University of Arizona to assist in the McKale Center renovations, the university announced on Tuesday.
Kerr played for the Wildcats from 1983-1988, talling 1,445 career points. He helped Arizona win two Pac-10 regular season championships and was a first-team all-conference selection twice.
“My experience as a student-athlete at the U of A shaped my life and my entire career,” Steve Kerr in a statement released by the university. “I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity I was given to be a part of such a special University. This gift reflects my thanks and also my support for all the future student-athletes who will come to Arizona to compete, study and shape their own lives moving forward.”
The donation from the Kerrs will go to Phase I of the renovations, which began in May 2014. This stage includes upgrades to the seating and lighting of the area and also includes a new floor.
“I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Steve and Margot for their incredible generosity and continued support of our program,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller added. “Steve’s basketball career is extraordinary on so many levels. However, his qualities as a person and the qualities of his family are equally exemplary. Today’s gift epitomizes the reasons that we take so much pride in referring to Arizona basketball as ‘A Player’s Program.’”
Since graduating from Arizona, Kerr enjoyed a 15-year NBA career winning five titles; three as a member of the Chicago Bulls and two with the San Antonio Spurs. Kerr has also had stints as a television analyst for TNT and worked in the Phoenix Suns front office. In 2014, Kerr begins the newest chapter of his basketball career as a first-year head coach for the Golden State Warriors.
Kerr’s alma mater will open the preseason as a top-3 team, likely as the No. 2 behind Kentucky.
The 1987-88 Arizona Wildcat basketball team was filled with famous faces, stars with the kind of staying power that keep them relevant more than a quarter-century later.
Steve Kerr, who hit the jumper that gave Michael Jordan his fifth title and is now the head coach of the Golden State Warriors, was on that team. Kenny Lofton, one of the best centerfielders of the last 25 years, was a point guard on that team. Sean Elliot, a No. 3 overall draft pick that made a couple all-star team, won an NBA title and was the first NBA player to play after a kidney transplant, was on that team, too.
Sean Rooks, Jud Buechler, Tom Tolbert. These are names that NBA fans may still recognize.
And all of them took part in this horribly embarrassing music video for a rap song that the team recorded that season:
As the saying goes, if there’s a video of it, it will eventually wind up on youtube.
Here’s the funny part: that song was written by Harvey Mason Jr., a guard for Arizona from 1986-1990 that is now a six-time Grammy winning songwriter for his work with artists like Beyonce’, Justin Timberlake and Chris Brown.
He also wrote “Sorry 2004” for Ruben Studdard.
They can’t all be winners.