By LARRY VAUGHT
Marshall County junior Zion Harmon had an impressive performance at the recent Peach Jam where most of the nation’s top high school players participated.
His Boo Williams team reached the semifinals where he had 17 points and three assists in a loss to Team Why Not that featured UK target Jalen Green (27 points on 11-for-16 shooting, four rebounds, two assists) and Green’s Prolific Prep teammate Nimari Burnett (13 points, eight rebounds, seven assists).
In the quarterfinals Harmon had 26 points and 11 assists in a matchup against Sharife Cooper, another UK target who is considered the nation’s top 2020 point guard by many. Cooper had 31 points and 11 assists.
Harmon has about 10 scholarship offers, including Tennessee, Auburn and LSU. He’s had major interest from Kansas. Kentucky and Louisville have also shown interest but have not offered.
So why have they not offered?
I keep hearing that Harmon is only 5-10 and not big enough to play big-time basketball. Cooper, though, is only listed as six-feet tall. In a Nike EYBL matchup a few weeks earlier Harmon had 16 points and 11 assists while Cooper had 25 points and 13 rebounds. Bottom line, they both can play basketball.
Harmon attended Bowling Green as an eighth grader and helped the Purples win the state title after moving from Tennessee. He played at Adair County as a freshman and led the state in scoring. The Kentucky High School Athletic Association ruled him ineligible after he transferred to Marshall County but he is eligible to play again this year. Some speculate that three schools in three years worries some coaches. Yet Isaiah Todd, a major UK 2020 recruiting target, has not only played for three AAU teams but seems likely to play next season in Florida. That will mean he’s played for three schools in his high school career but that’s not a knock on him like some are putting on Harmon.
I’ve heard some coaches and recruiting analysts say they are not sure Harmon will even play college basketball, something I don’t understand since he’s an honor student and there has never been any indication from him or his family that he would even contemplate going overseas to play professionally or anything else.
I asked ESPN recruiting director Paul Biancardi what he thought about Harmon after watching him at Peach Jam. He was impressed.
“I like him. Crafty quick and confident with the ball in his hands. Makes good decisions. Can score when needed,” Biancardi said. “His own productivity and how he impacts the game by finding others is impressive.”
That’s what I see with my untrained eye when I watch Harmon, too. Obviously, some college coaches agree, some don’t. I just know Harmon sure does a lot on the court to help a team win as Biancardi noted — without any mention of his size.