Athlete Spotlight: Zion Wyatt, Montclair High School basketball
PHOTO BY ANDREW GARDA/STAFF
by Andrew Garda
Getting back on the court for the Montclair Mounties boys basketball team wasn’t easy for senior Zion Wyatt. First, the former Mountie had to return home after playing at American History High School for the last three years. Then he had to overcome an ankle injury from the preseason.
Now that he’s back in action, Wyatt said, it’s a relief.
“The first few games I missed, it was tough,” he said after Friday’s 67-58 win over crosstown rival Montclair Kimberley Academy. “I put in so much work in the offseason, waiting for these big games and these big moments so I can show everybody that I can play on the next level, and all I can do.”
Even though he’s still adjusting, coach Gary Wallace is expecting a lot from him.
“I’ve challenged him to be a point guard and my extension on the floor, so I need him to get these guys where they need to be,” Wallace said. “If guys aren’t where they need to be, he has to tell them. He has to be willing to take the fall pretty much for everything, because he’s my leader on the floor.”
Montclair Kimberley Academy coach Tony Jones remembers Wyatt from the days when Wyatt’s dad was coaching basketball. After watching him play against Jones’ Cougars, Jones was impressed with his improvement.
“He’s stronger,” Jones said after Wyatt’s Mounties beat the Cougars 67-58. “He’s always been athletic, but he made perimeter shots tonight and that wasn’t usually the case last year. He was the difference in the game, as far as I’m concerned.”
Wyatt took a few moments to answer some questions after that game.
How’s it feel to be back “home”?
It feels great. I was going to move to Arizona and then play there in Prep, but playing here with guys I played with in my middle school days, I’m having fun playing basketball again.
I really like history, it’s something I’ve always been interested in. History and philosophy. I really enjoy thinking about things and learning new knowledge.
What do you do off the court?
I like to stay diverse. I play video games, I like to make music. I make a lot of hip hop and I try to rap. Just for fun, though, nothing serious. I write my own music to my own beats.
Playstation 4 or X-Box?
PS4, definitely. I have to get my X-Box sometime, but PS4. I play NBA2K, Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty. I play a lot of everything.
Who has inspired you?
The rapper J Cole, he inspires me to be myself, no matter what anybody says to me. Stay true to what I know and what I do. Never stray from what I learned growing up and never let anyone in your head. Also my father and my mother. They inspire and motivate me every day to be what I am. The greatness that I am or the great person I am becoming, they tell me that I can do anything I put my mind to.