By LARRY VAUGHT
Zion Harmon apparently is going to play basketball at Marshall County this season after all.
No, he won’t be play for Marshall, but he’s going to play at Marshall County in the Big Baller Beatdown this weekend for Downey Christian, a private school in Florida that is not a sanctioned high school team and not part of the national high school federation.
Harmon, one of the nation’s top sophomores, transferred from Adair County — where he led the state in scoring last year — to Marshall in June. He had played his eighth-grade season at Bowling Green and helped the Purples win the state championship after moving from Tennessee to Kentucky.
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association ruled Harmon ineligible basically because his father told the Paducah Sun his sone was considering a move to three schools — along with prep schools — when Mike Harmon decided he wanted to find a better education fit for his son. On Friday, Thomas Russell, a senior judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, denied an injunction from Mike Harmon to overturn Zion Harmon’s ineligibility.
Zion Harmon would not have been eligible to play at Marshall until the state tourney — one year from his final game at Adair last season. Or he could have played with the junior varsity team at Marshall, but not the varsity under a new rule adopted by the KHSAA this season. Not sure a lot of Marshall opponents would have liked seeing a top 10 national player playing in a JV game.Instead, Zion Harmon is going to continue going to school at Marshall and then play on weekends in Grind Session events with Downey Christian and high profile guard Julian Newman, who is somewhat of an internet sensation because of his scoring and ball handling skills. He joined the Downey varsity team at age 11 in the fifth grade and had over 3,000 points going into this season.
He’s been featured on YouTube and MaxPreps videos as well as publications such at People Magazine and the New York Times. He’s been on TV shows such as Good Morning America, Steve Harvey and Today.
Zion Harmon averaged 32.7 points per game last season and scored 1,014 points. He has 1,634 career points in his two seasons playing in Kentucky.
While Harmon’s statistics won’t count with the KHSAA, he’s going to face some high profile competitions starting with this weekend when he’ll play against Spire Academy and LaMelo Ball and Rocket Watts, a Michigan State signee. Ball obviously is one of the nation’s better known — and talented — prep players.
Downey Christian will play Spire at 2:30 p.m. CST Saturday and then take on Aspire Academy of Louisville at 1:30 p.m. CST on Jan. 20.
Downey Christian will be back in Kentucky Feb. 1-2 for the Jackson Purchase Jame in Graves County — and so will Spire. Harmon and Newman will also be playing together for Downey in the Grind Session High School World Championship at the Owensboro Sportscenter March 7-10 — the same dates as the Kentucky state boys basketball tournament. Spire, Prolific Prep and some of the nation’s other best prep teams will also be in Owensboro.