Review KFC Star Search - Youth basketball takes the spotlight

By George Davis July 23, 2019

Talented youth get the opportunity to showcase their skills as the KFC Star Search basketball camp gets underway.

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    Kawhi Leonard and Luka Doncic shared 72 points between them as the Los Angeles Clippers outgunned the Dallas Mavericks 110-107 on Tuesday.

    Two-time NBA champion Leonard (36 points, 11 rebounds, two assists) and Dallas' MVP candidate Doncic (36 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists) both recorded double-doubles in an entertaining encounter before the Clippers prevailed for a gritty road victory.

    Landry Shamet's two late three-pointers proved the end for Dallas, who welcomed back Kristaps Porzingis and threatened to overturn an 11-point half-time deficit at American Airlines Center.

    Mavs sensation Doncic led the comeback after being dunked on by Leonard in the second quarter, the former Toronto Raptors star blocking a shot at one end and then completing the breakaway slam.

    The Mavs' first loss in five games was compounded by an Achilles injury that forced Dwight Powell out of the game in the opening quarter.

    The Clippers have now won four successive games to sit second behind neighbours the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference.

    Spurs at Pelicans

    Zion Williamson will be the centre of attention in Wednesday's action. The number one draft pick has been cleared to make his long-awaited NBA debut when the struggling New Orleans Pelicans take on the San Antonio Spurs.

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  • Williamson relishing NBA debut as draft top pick prepares for Pelicans bow Williamson relishing NBA debut as draft top pick prepares for Pelicans bow

    Zion Williamson admitted he "wanted to punch a wall or kick chairs" during his time in the treatment room - but the number one draft pick is now set for his NBA debut.

    The 19-year-old is expected to play for the New Orleans Pelicans against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, with several reports saying he will be in the starting five.

    Williamson, who shone for Duke during his one-season college career, is expected to a superstar in the NBA.

    He has already signed a shoe deal reputedly worth $75million over seven years, and comparisons have often been drawn to LeBron James.

    The debut game may reveal several tells as to how Williamson will cope in the league, with the teenager relieved to have recovered fully from the torn meniscus he suffered before the season got under way.

    That blow occurred in October, setting back a player who had been highly impressive in preseason games.

    He said rehab was "long and strenuous", adding: "I just wanted to punch a wall or kick chairs. It was frustrating not being able to move your body the way you want to, not to make any athletic movements.

    "It was tough, especially because I was 19 and hadn't played my first NBA game. It was tough but I battled through."

    Williamson may make the smoothest of transitions, or it could take the young forward a while to attune to the pace of the game.

    One thing is for sure, it will be almost a whole new ball game, compared to turning out for Duke.

    "This is my first NBA game. This is business now. It's different," he said. "I think there will be a learning curve. I don't think it'll be nothing dramatic.

    "I'm not really putting pressure on it at all. I love to play basketball so I'm just looking to go out there, have fun, and compete."

    He realises the spotlight will fall on him, and his debut showing will be heavily scrutinised.

    "I know the people in New Orleans are going to show a lot of love because that's what they do. But from the other side, all I can do is invite the love. If they want to bring it, they can bring it," Williamson said.

    "I'm just 19. I'm taking all this in and I'm just going to enjoy the process."

    Born in Salisbury, North Carolina, Williamson said it felt as though the people of New Orleans had "adopted me a bit".

    "It's been great. The city's beautiful, the people are beautiful as well. They welcome me," he said.

    "They show love everywhere I go and tell me they can't wait for me to get back out there."

    Asked how good he could prove to be, Williamson told reporters: "Do I even get to determine that? My plan is to go out and contribute where coach needs me."

    He hopes to provide capable support to Brandon Ingram, who is scoring 25.6 points per game this season.

    "I had a lot of fun watching him," Williamson said. "In my opinion I think he's a definite All-Star, I've got to say that.

    "He's come so far in just a few months since we've started, and I'm just looking to feed off that."

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