Duke basketball legend joins LeBron James on exclusive list

Duke basketball legend Zion Williamson (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Duke basketball legend Zion Williamson (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Only two others have ever done what one Duke basketball great is doing now.

Across his 35 games since New Year’s Day, former Duke basketball one-and-done and current New Orleans Pelicans sophomore power forward Zion Williamson has come up shy of 20 points on only three occasions. And those three totals were 19, 18, and 17.

Williamson’s latest outing included 30 points on 9-for-13 shooting from the field in Sunday’s 113-108 win at the Denver Nuggets (25-17); meanwhile, another forward out of Duke, Brandon Ingram, also scored 30 points for the Pelicans (18-24), but the third NBA Blue Devil in the Bayou, JJ Redick, is still dealing with heel soreness and hasn’t played since March 3.

With his grand performance against the Nuggets, Williamson became just the third NBA player to ever put up 20 or more points in 20 consecutive outings before turning 21 years old. According to a tweet from ESPN.com reporter Andrew Lopez, the other two on that list are LeBron James and Luka Doncic.

Yes, that’s some pretty talented company.

More elite company for the Duke basketball treasure

Adding even more pizzazz to this most recent feat, Zion Williamson hasn’t shot below 50 percent from the field in any of these past 20 appearances.

Yes, that’s utter efficiency.

Per a tweet from ESPN Stats & Info, Williamson now sits in a tie with Karl Malone for the second-longest stretch — regardless of age — of scoring 20-plus points and shooting 50-plus percent (since the shot-clock era began in 1954).

Currently, Williamson has five more such efforts to go in order to reach the record mark of 25 from 2001, which Hall of Fame center Shaquille O’Neal set during what was his ninth season in the league.

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Entering the New Orleans Pelicans’ home showdown against the Los Angeles Lakers (28-15) at 7:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, Zion Williamson is averaging 25.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.4 assists for the season while shooting 61.9 percent from the field.