Former NBA big man Boozer: Zion should follow LeBron's footsteps

Colton Jones

As a former Duke standout, former NBA forward Carlos Boozer has a vested interest in the NCAA tournament, especially when it comes for Zion Williamson.

The projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft come June, Williamson was compared to LeBron James, who became a teammate of Boozer's when he was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the first overall pick in the 2003 draft.

"Just stay true to his self. I think he’s the next star. He might be one of the most popular athletes in sports right now," Boozer told Bill DiFilippo of Dime Magazine. "He’s on ESPN every morning, on the cover of magazines, just has a lot of attention towards him. Kind of reminds me of LeBron when we drafted LeBron in Cleveland, very similar as far as notoriety and the attention."

Along those lines, Boozer said he's always appreciated James' ability to remain focused, something he says Williamson must do, too.

"One of the things that I’ve always admired about LeBron is he stayed true to who he was throughout everybody pulling you different directions," Boozer said. "You’ve got shoe giants pulling you, you’ve got commercials pulling you. He focused on the game, he always put time in if he put three hours, four hours, five hours a day into his game and he stayed true to who he really was.

"That would be a lot like Zion. There’s gonna be a lot of people pulling at him."

Boozer said where Williamson lands come June will play a big part in determining his career path.

"My biggest thing with him going to the NBA is where will he go? Will he get great coaching?" Boozer said. "Because some of these kids get drafted and they go to a franchise or an organization that doesn’t have the best coaching in place and they don’t progress the way that they should.

"So my hope for Zion is that he goes to a place where they’re gonna develop him so he can become the best player he can be, which, the sky’s the limit for him."