Zion Harmon: Youngest In Charge

Photo courtesy of SLAM Magazine.

By David Cordova

The story of David vs. Goliath always rings true even on the asphalt or the hardwood. There’s always that one person that gets on the court to hold their own & outplay the giants in front of them. With a David, heart and perseverance and the willpower to always prove the doubters wrong, always helps them get through.

In the case of Zion Harmon, the story of David vs. Goliath always rings true. Since his middle school days, he has always held his own against bigger, stronger players & continues to do so to this day. The 5-foot-11 point guard is one of the smartest and slickest on the court amongst his peers and is rated as the No. 9 player in the class of 2021 by ESPN.

“The No. 1 thing that motivates me is just that always know that I’m doing it for the Glory of God, he gave me this ability and another thing too is for my family. My mom, my dad be working twelve-hour shifts, he gotta travel an hour to Southeast D.C. to work. My mom is like, she be working, trying to get it. My brother, he’s out here training kids, that’s what ‘motivates me to get it, that’s what motivates me to be great,” said Harmon about what motivates him to be successful on the court.

Harmon is originally from Temple Hills, Maryland, a town just 20 minutes outside of Washington, D.C., and showcased his talents around the nation’s capital in his younger days.

“I was always in D.C., and the basketball there, it’s a little bit similar to [New York], it ain’t nothing like New York, but it’s like guard play, you go down to Barry Farms, it’s tough, tough basketball, similar to [New York], really, and I always say that the best players come from the DMV (DC/Maryland/Virginia) area,” said Harmon of his basketball upbringing in the DMV.

Harmon shows off his razzle-dazzle moves at Dyckman. (Photo courtesy of SLAM Magazine)

When asked for his strengths and weaknesses, he broke down his game like this, “One of my weaknesses is, I don’t know, there’s weaknesses, but my strengths are if I get hot, I can shoot it, I can pass, dribble and just being a floor general.”

On being able to dominate older players at a younger age, Harmon added: “It just gave me the experience and the know that it’s possible to get to that level, I saw Trae Young pull up [at Dyckman]. Trae Young, I didn’t play with him, but it was at the same level as him, and now he’s with the Atlanta Hawks, so he’s just been working, and if you put the work in, it’s possible.”

As a seventh-grader, he played varsity basketball at Lighthouse Christian School in Antioch, Tennesee, where he averaged 17 points and five rebounds per game in the 2015-16 season.

In the spring of 2016, Harmon suited up for the We All Can Go All-Stars (WACG), an AAU program from Nashville, Tennessee, on the Nike EYBL circuit. Despite WACG’s dismal record on that circuit, Harmon stood out amongst his teammates and showed that even though he was a middle schooler, he was a man amongst boys, as he held his own against players a few years older than him.

Harmon plans to make a move against a defender during Nike EYBL play. (Photo courtesy of Visions by Jeff/Jeffrey Armstrong)

“Basically, Tyger Campbell, John Petty, T.J. Moss, they got moved up, and it was my opportunity, and I had to take my opportunity, and I just ran with it.” said Harmon about that spring with WACG, with whom he averaged 17 points and 4.4 assists per game.

As an eighth-grader, he went on to Bowling Green High School in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where he averaged 16.8 points and led the Purples to a 36-2 record and the school’s first state title. During the AAU season, he then played for the Boo Williams AAU program, of Hampton, Virginia, on the Nike EYBL circuit, where he averaged 12 points and 3.9 assists in the spring and summer of 2017. Also, that summer, he played on USA Basketball’s U16 squad, where he would led them to a FIBA Americas championship, in which he also earned a gold medal.

His freshman year of high school would prove to be a revelation, as he played at Adair County High School in Columbia, Kentucky last season, where he averaged 32.7 points, 7.8 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game for the Indians, which would be a performance that would earn him a spot on the USA Today All-Kentucky first-team and also earn him the Max Preps Freshman of the Year Award.

“Freshman season, I averaged about 35 a game, it was a different type of school, a different feel, a little bit disorganized, but I was in the gym, but this coming [high school] season and in the future, it’s going to be a different type of me, they don’t even know,” said Harmon.

This summer, Harmon played for Brad Beal Elite, a St. Louis-based program named after the Washington Wizards’ All-Star guard, where he averaged nine points, 2.7 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game, and led them to the Nike Peach Jam.

When asked what lessons he learned from Beal, he replied, “Brad, he’s one of the guys, I played under him for one weekend in Vegas [at The 8 Classic], it may have been the most I learned in one weekend. He just taught me how to play off of ball-screens, because they was trapping, how to be patient, and to still get mine, and to not hesitate. Sometimes, what I do, I hesitate on my shot and I might throw my shot off a little bit, but he just taught me to not hesitate, and to keep playing, that helped me a whole lot.”

Harmon gets interviewed at Dyckman by Uncle G Stacks following the SLAM Showcase. (Photo courtesy of SLAM Magazine)

Later in the summer, following a strong performance at the Hoop Group Future All-American Camp in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, he came out to play at the famed Dyckman Tournament in New York and he put on a good performance as part of the SLAM Showdown, and even impressed Young and fellow NBA rookie Mohamed Bamba.

When asked about the experience of playing in New York City, Harmon replied, “Really, I’m from D.C., I grew up in D.C., it’s cool, I’m always in the gym, but uh, this [outdoors on the asphalt], is where I belong really, the city. Like, the country, it’s really a little-bit slower-paced, I like all this streetball, outdoor ball, they don’t hoop outside enough [in Kentucky], like you don’t see much pickup outside. I be trying to look for runs. I just be in the gym.”

This fall, Harmon has enrolled at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky, where he plans to play for the varsity squad this season. “Transferring to Marshall County, it’s going to be an adjustment, that’s all I gotta say, it’s going to be an adjustment,” he replied.

As for his recruitment, he has attracted the attention of plenty of schools around the nation, from schools such as New Mexico State, Jacksonville, Missouri, Western Kentucky, Stephen F. Austin, Creighton, SMU, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, St. Louis, Auburn and LaSalle amongst others.

His plans for his sophomore season are really simple. “Just to kill, come out on the circuit next year, and kill, that’s it.” he said.

And as for the future, he added: “Next in the future? School, just being in the gym, working [out], school, yeah, that’s about it.”

So far, he has traveled many roads, and made his name in so many places, but the legend of Zion Harmon continues to grow, with every play and every step he makes.

Highlights of Zion Harmon:

Courtesy of Courtside Films.

Courtesy of Frankie Vision.

Courtesy of Elite Mixtapes.

Courtesy of SLAM Magazine.

Courtesy of Frankie Vision.

Courtesy of Courtside Films.

Courtesy of Ballislife.

Courtesy of MSH TV.

Courtesy of Take Flight Hoops.

Courtesy of Courtside Films.

Courtesy of Hoop Journey.

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