NBA rookies Zion Williamson and Ja Morant are two of the league’s most well-known young players, but the two players weren’t always household names.
Williamson recently hopped on The Ringer’s “The JJ Redick Podcast.” While on there, Williamson talked about how he and Morant weren’t well known while playing on the same AAU basketball squad in high school.
A hybrid forward out of Duke, Williamson was selected by the New Orleans Pelicans with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. Morant, selected by the Memphis Grizzlies, was the No. 2 overall pick.
“We were the role players,” Williamson said. “What people don’t know is, it’s a dude that goes to Ole Miss now, Devontae Shuler. In South Carolina, he was the guy. I remember I used to play with him. I’m playing upper age group. I’m watching him play like, ‘Man this dude’s just going coast to coast, finishing, pulling up transition three like he’s (Steph) Curry. I’m like, ‘I’m just a ninth grader, nobody knows who I am.’”
Williamson is currently out with a torn meniscus. Though Williamson has yet to make his NBA debut, according to ESPN’s Andrew Lopez, he was in 5-on-5 drills on Tuesday. Per Lopez, there is not a specific date yet for Williamson’s return.
Morant, who started to gain notoriety during the 2019 NCAA Tournament, is having a good rookie season. He’s arguably the leading candidate for Rookie of the Year, as he leads rookies in points per game (17.8) and assists (6.6). Morant also has the most 20-point games of any rookie this season.