LeBron James, Maverick Carter and Uninterrupted will push out “Top Class: The Life and Times of the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers,” starting February 26th on Amazon’s IMDb TV; it will document Sierra Canyon’s 2019-2020, COVID-19 shortened, state title run.
Whether the 6-part docu-series ends up being more Hoosiers or more Keeping Up With the Kardashians, one thing that will be on full display is hype, but let’s focus on one player on the squad, Ziaire Williams. In real life, does Williams end up being closer to Jimmy Chitwood or some bit role basketball player, cursed by one Kardashian brood ala Kris Humpries?
First, a look back to the real(with all the liberties of Hollywood) Jimmy Chitwood, Bobby Plump. Bobby was a star on the Milan High school basketball team that won the 1954 Indiana High School Athletic Association State Tournament. That team is the base for Hickory Huskers of Hoosiers.Bobby Plump did indeed hit a last second shot to beat Muncie Central 32-30 in the same spot on Hinkle Fieldhouse court that Chitwood did in the film to win State.
Bobby ended up being Indiana’s “Mr. Basketball,” in 1954 and then went on to 4 years of college ball at Butler where he averaged 16.3 points and 4.1 rebounds a game. After 3 years in the National Industrial Basketball League with the Phillips 66ers, Bobby gave up basketball to sell life insurance. He was also inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1981. Overall a solid career with one gigantic shot that will forever be memorialized.
Also on a path to a life-changing jumper, Ziaire Williams spent his early years in Lancaster, California. He started ballin’ already at 5 years old. He is the only child of Ziaire and Marquita Williams, who both served in the US Armed Forces, Ziaire in the Marines and Marquitra in the Army and Air Force. The younger Ziarie spent 3 years at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, where Giancarlo Stanton once hooped as a 3-sport athlete. He averaged 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists as a junior.
During the summer of 2019, Williams went to work with the USA U19 World Cup Team. He played in all 7 games for the USA, which went 7-0 and won gold in Greece. He scored 12 points and dished out 3 assists vs Latvia for his tournament highs. On July 18th, 2019, during his time with USA Basketball, Williams announced that he would be transferring to Sierra Canyon and was not eligible to suit up until December 29th, 2019.
Once the uniform went on, it was on. Ziaire scored 28 points in his debut with Sierra Canyon, which ended in a 85-81 overtime loss to current USC star and possible #1 draft pick, Evan Mobley and Temecula Rancho Christian. The rest of the season was solid for Ziaire, as he averaged 15/7.9/3.6 per in 21 games and was selected as the Los Angeles Times Player of the Year and for every single all star game that got canceled.
Cue Ziarie’s unmatched run through the California High School Playoffs. “He was amazing,” coach Andre Chevalier stated to the Los Angeles Times. “He took his game to the next level.” 25 points against Santa Ana Mater Dei in a 59-48 victory and then the icing, a 15-foot buzzer beater against Etiwanda in the regional final, capping a 11-point comeback in the last 2:43 and giving the Trailblazers a 63-61 victory.
The shot gives goosebumps, just like that of the real-life version of Hoosiers, including being eerily similar to Plumps’s shot in distance and in time left on the clock. The whole play start-to-finish took 17.3 seconds, where Plumps’ was about 18 and each shot was hit from between 15-16 feet with around 2-3 seconds left on the clock. For Sierra, it ended up being the last shot of the season, as the final was called off due to COVID-19, so it also became Canyon fans’ last and greatest memory of Ziaire. The shot heard ’round the world? Time will tell, but most likely not due to the fact that it was not in the State Championship.
As for an update on what Williams is doing this year, at Stanford this season, as the highest-ranked recruit of the modern era for the Cardinal, he announced his presence with a bang, scoring 19 points, hitting 3 3-pointers, and grabbing 8 boards. He had 3 assists, but did turn it over 6 times in a 82-64 victory over the currently 6th-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. That performance garnered praise from the entire basketball world including LeBron James himself on Twitter.
On January 7th, he posted Stanford’s 2nd all-time triple-double. He dropped 12 points, got 12 rebounds, and dished out 10 assists to go along with 2 steals and 7 turnovers to join Brook Lopez in 07 as the only Cardinal to accomplish the feat. Overall, he is averaging 10.9/5/2.4 with 3 turnovers per. Turnovers are expected from big-time college freshmen and the upside of his size, athletic gifts, rebounding, and off-the-dribble shot ability could make Williams a possible lottery pick later this year if he chooses the NBA route.
So far, Ziarie Williams looks a lot more Bobby Plump than Kursed Kardashian. Ability should shine through hype in “Top Class: The Life and Times of the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers,” and also in the continuing real life of the series’ true lead.