Saturday, December 13, 2014

Zion "The Lion" Harmon, Pound for Pound Champ Roars In Amzaing Return to Basketball Spotlight Tournament Circuit

The Pound for Pound Champion of youth basketball returned to Hoop Group Headquarters in Tinton, NJ, this time for the Basketball Spotlight Tip Off Classic.  Zion Harmon (USA National Select, Unlimited Glory, Slam City Elite) is the best and most productive basketball player without consideration of class or grade in the country.  There was no other player at 5’4 and 100 lbs soaking wet as talented and fearless as Harmon.

In the recent Tip Off Classic Harmon averaged 27ppg, 4apg, and 6rbg.  But the stats alone don’t tell the story of how much bigger his spirit was compared to his rather small frame on intense and insane weekend schedule logging minutes for two championship squads at the 2021 and 2020 level.  He’s a jump shooter and a slasher, constantly and consistently weaving his way into the paint, a land of giants, as he fearlessly takes the ball to the rack – finishing creatively and with an array and multitude of many different moves.  As per usual, it seemed his butt spent more time on the floor than his feet on the court.  But he always popped back up and you know what he did on the very next offensive possession, he went back into the forest of guys sometimes a foot taller and 50+ lbs heavier than him looking for a score and did it with much success.

When he grew “tired” of making a living in the painted area you could find him dialing it up from a another area code with his in the gym range knocking down three’s that made the fans in the gym gasp, laugh, and his opponents moan.

The Legend of Harmon has taken on such form that many pundits, players, and gym rates have ceased to call him by his given name of Zion – rather referring to him by his Assassins nickname “The Lion”.  It’s a nickname where if you called him that he would give you a little more attention; knowing that you have seen or heard of him before.

However, it wasn’t just what Harmon does on the basketball court that makes him such a well-known, interesting, intriguing, hated, misunderstood, despised, and loved figure. “The Lion” is one of the most polarizing kids many will have the pleasure of coming to know.   The phenomenon of showing negativity to a child has never so shameful or apparent and with this player.  Coach Francis, Scout and coach for USA National and Slam City who has worked with many of the nation’s best, first documented over two years ago Harmon’s status as the #1 player in the class said when reached for comment “ …the kid has been ridiculed for nothing more than trying the be the best he can be and making his team the best they can be” he closed by saying “….if there is something wrong that should be criticized on any level with that mindset especially in a child, then the person speaking it should be evaluated”.

They have said he is too old, they have said he was too small, they have said can’t run a team, he can’t play with other great players; he can’t play against older kids his game doesn’t translate.  His age has been verified, Harmon turns 13 in 2015, and he has competed against high school freshmen and sophomores as early as fifth grade and was still named by Big Shots Tournaments as an event top performer.  He has played the point guard position on with his Slam City club, various all-star leagues proving that theory wrong.  So of course the next statement is that he can’t do it on the elite level ~ he has partnered as part of a National Select Team group with multiple top players in the country proving that he can play with the very best in the game and his own peers have walked away expressing their respect for his game and their personal enjoyment for playing aside him – this biggest compliment a player at any level can receive. 

In what may have been one of the classiest moves in recent memory, Tournament Director and Owner of Basketball Spotlight Mike – who was so impressed with the weekend performance of Harmon presented him with actual event banner!  Advising Harmon to take due to his amazing antics that Melton not only witness but honored with the gift - Melton who has seen multiple pro’s players and high level collegians come through his events said a lot by this gesture.  Seeing the look on Harmon’s face the least of which is that Melton is about the kids in his event and additionally that Melton two who named Harmon #1 on his Spotlight ranking also see and appreciates the level of talent “The Lion” possesses. 

Is Harmon the best to ever lace them up?  Will he be the best next year or at the high school level?  Who knows and if we did know that a big target and way too much pressure to put on a child – these are all kids and the primary purpose of reinforcing positives and acting as a support mechanism to all Harmon and all kids make it to the highest level they can dream and achieve at the end of the day is the ultimate goal.  So for today let’s celebrate a phenomenal child and person who happens to also be the best of many other great players playing in youth basketball right now – Zion “The Lion” Harmon 2021 and 2020 Basketball Spotlight Tip Off champion and the reigning P2Bball Pound for Pound Champ.

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