NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - In the Barclays Center on Thursday night in Brooklyn, we expect to hear Zion Williamson’s name called first by the Pelicans.
He said on Wednesday that he’s not sure how he’ll react to hearing it, but said his excitement, on a scale of one to ten, is a hundred. In addition to the excitement that Zion brings to the Pelicans, he is not letting the hype of his talent get in the way of his goal to win.
“Obviously, yeah, my mindset, yeah I think I am ready to be the face," Williamson said. "I think everybody has that mindset. I think if somebody doesn’t have that mindset, I don’t know if they are playing the right sport. But, whether I am the face or not, I’m just ready to help my team win.”
In Midtown Manhattan on Wednesday morning, Zion and 19 other players that expect to hear their names called Thursday night, were fielding questions from the media. The former Duke star drew the largest crowd, and for good reason. He’s arguably the most hyped player to enter the league since LeBron James.
But Zion also realizes that he did not become a top basketball prospect without help from his family.
“They’ve [my parents] been everything," Williamson said. "Even when people said I shouldn’t be playing basketball, I should be playing another sport, or the chances of me getting drafted are like slim to none, they looked at me and always told me I could do it. Ultimately they said I have got to believe in myself. So, I think without them like telling me to believe in myself and pushing me to be better every day, I would not be in this situation.”
Zion used this motivation to propel his way to a superior season at Duke and potentially be the top pick to New Orleans; a city that he has already visited. He visited town last week, and said he got a real sense of just how big of a deal he is to not just the Pelicans, but to the Crescent City as a whole.
“The city seems very excited if I come there," Williamson said. "And, you know, it was kind of like a business thing. I understand this is a business, and they just told me that maybe they’ll draft me and that I’m a good player or something. The city was just very welcoming. Like everywhere I went it was just like walking on the street there was people high fiving me and saying they hope I come here.”
Zion wanted to clear up some misinformation that’s out there about his first meal in New Orleans. Someone said it was chicken fingers, but Williamson said his nephew ordered that, and he had fried shrimp and mashed potatoes.