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Leonard Hamilton praises Zion Williamson: ‘Most phenomenal talent in the ACC since Michael Jordan’

The hype Zion Williamson has generated in 14 games of action with his rim-rocking dunks, jaw-dropping blocks and feats of athleticism has media and fans alike buzzing about his NBA potential.

Now it has an ACC coach doing the same.

Ahead of No. 1 Duke’s road tilt Saturday against No. 13 Florida State, Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton went as far as to say that Zion’s talent reminds him of another ACC great in Michael Jordan, a player many consider to be the greatest basketball player of all time.

As far as talent and athleticism, Hamilton’s point is hard to argue. We’ve never seen a player quite like Zion, who can smack a shot into the second row on one end and then throw down a 360 dunk on the other.

The stats mostly agree, too, though it’s worth noting that basketball has changed significantly since Jordan was in Chapel Hill. Jordan averaged 17.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 0.7 blocks per game over his three-season Tar Heels tenure, while Williamson, over the course of 14 games, is averaging 20.9 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game.

Hamilton’s point may be true from a talent perspective, but let’s pump the brakes even mentioning the two in the same sentence. Jordan is a Hall of Fame talent who was a 14-time All-Star, six-time NBA champion and five-time NBA MVP. He was great in college, sure, but he sustained his greatness — and even took it up a notch — over his successful 15 seasons with the pros. Meanwhile, Zion’s living in college quarters and ineligible, for now, to earn money off his own likeness.

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