Freshman had one of greatest college seasons
Zion Williamson won’t have a college basketball national championship attached to his name after Duke fell to Michigan State in the Elite Eight.
But after we watched him blow away opponent after opponent, it raises the question: Where does his 201819 season rank in college hoops history?
For that answer, I turned to Sports Reference’s co lege basketball site. Williamson averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocked shots. Pretty bonkers numbers, and here’s the proof: Just 63 players since 1992-93 (the site notes stat coverage issues before then) have had more than 20 points, 8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. We’ll get to the steals in a second.
How many of them, however, were freshmen, which makes the accomplishment more impressive? (Although in an era with more one-and-done players, first-year stars might get more playing time than in the past.) The list is six players long, and two of them from this season joined Williamson: Bol Bol from Oregon and Cal State-Northridge’s Lamine Diane are on there, as are notables like Deandre Ayton, Michael Beasley … Kevin Durant (can we take a moment to marvel at 25.8 points, 11.1 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.9 steals?).
Let’s add in steals. There have been just 13 seasons of 20 points, 8 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks since 1992-93, including Durant and Joe Smith for Maryland in 1994-95 before he was the No. 1 overall pick.
There’s one more number: Williamson hit an astounding 68 percent of his shots. Just three players have averaged more than 20 points and 67 percent.
I ran a search of 20 points, 8 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and more than 0.5 3-pointers made per game and got 20 names, including Williamson and Bol.
No matter how you cut it, Zion had an all-time jawdropper of a season.