James traveled to Charlottesville on Saturday to see Williamson and the No. 2-ranked Blue Devils beat the No. 4 Cavaliers.

By Alaa Abdeldaiem
February 15, 2019

Zion Williamson has caught LeBron James's eye. 

After traveling to Charlottesville, Virginia, to watch Williamson and his No. 2-ranked Blue Devils beat the No. 4 Cavaliers on Saturday, James had nothing but praise for the young forward.

"What strikes me? His agility and his quickness," James told ESPN. "For his size, how strong he is, to be able to move like the way he moves, he's very impressive. I mean, everybody can see the athleticism. That's obviously, that's ridiculous. But the speed and the quickness that he moves [with] at that size is very impressive."

James, who had a front row seat alongside agent Rich Paul, close friend Randy Mims and Lakers teammates Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Rajon Rondo for Duke's 81–71 win, added that he was especially impressed with Williamson's maturity. At just 18 years old, Williamson's 6'7", 285-pound frame and all-around game is already drawing comparisons to James as one of the best prospects to ever be on the NBA's radar. Williamson is averaging 22 points on 68% shooting for the Blue Devils this season.

Scottie Pipen suggested last month that Williamson should sit out the rest of his freshman season to avoid injury and protect his future earning potential. James lauded Williamson's response.

"I can relate in a sense of he's been covered since he was in high school and everybody is trying to compare him to the next this or the next that. But the best thing I've noticed is he seems like a good kid. He seems like he's got his head on straight," James said. "And when they asked him about, you know, guys in our league and people who cover our league talking about, 'If I was Zion Williamson, I would sit out for the rest of the year,' he was like, 'That's [silly]. Why? I'm here to play basketball. I love to play basketball. I'm here at Duke, I'm having fun. These are my friends. I'm having a great time. Why would I sit out?'

"That's the type of s--- that strikes me. Everybody gets so caught up in the game itself. I look at the intangibles. And he seems like he has great intangibles and seems like a great kid."

Despite the praise, James made it clear he was not trying to make a Lakers pitch to Williamson or any of Duke's other highly-praised freshman.

“A recruiting trip? I didn’t talk to anybody,” James said. "It was a game between the [top] teams in the country. Coach K [Mike Krzyzewski] is my guy. And the flight was 35 minutes. So, it was easy. It was easy to be able to do it. It was my first time seeing Duke play, I think, in my life. I want to go to Cameron [Indoor Stadium] someday, too, though.”

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