Sierra Canyon nears ‘super team’ status with arrival of Ziaire Williams

News broke Thursday night that the most sought-after college basketball prospect in California, 6-foot-8 Ziaire Williams, will be enrolling at Chatsworth Sierra. And you thought the formation of “super teams” couldn’t happen.

Maybe not in the NBA, but Sierra Canyon is just the latest to make it happen in high school.

Williams has starred at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame for the last three seasons. His family reportedly had a difference of opinion with coach Matt Sargeant. Weeks ago, Notre Dame Athletic Director Kevin Rooney confirmed Williams would not return to Notre Dame for his senior year, and that’s about how long the speculation has been he’d end up at Sierra Canyon.

The Trailblazers are on track to have a feeding frenzy of fans right behind the new look Lakers and Clippers. Williams, who won a gold medal this summer as a member of the the USA 19U team, will join his USA 19U teammate Amari Bailey, plus incoming freshman Bronny James, the son of LeBron, and senior Zaire Wade, the son of Dwyane and a transfer from Florida. Add Terren Frank, a highly recruited senior, and Sierra Canyon moves to favorite role for another title.

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Last year, Sierra Canyon won its second consecutive state championship with a starting lineup of five transfer students.

The CIF declared that its Open Division for the post season was designed to help deal with the growing trend of creating “super teams” in high school basketball. So far, the Trailblazers are in a class by themselves but other teams keep trying. Etiwanda, JSerra, Fairfax, Westchester, Torrance Bishop Montgomery and Taft all have transfer students set to join them.

Williams would be eligible immediately only if he moves or receives a Southern Section hardship waiver. Otherwise, he’d have to sit out about a month to start the season, and considering Sierra Canyon will be playing long into March, that’s hardly going to be a big sacrifice.

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Asked for a comment on the building of “super teams,” one high school basketball coach said, “None whatsoever. There are no rules anymore. This is what you get.” He asked for anonymity so as not to motivate Sierra Canyon.

Crespi coach Russell White said, “It’s not how Crespi chooses to build, but each their own. America is a great place because there is lots of opportunity to make your own choice.”

Williams is being recruited by the likes of North Carolina, UCLA, USC and Stanford. All it means is that securing a ticket for a Sierra Canyon home or away game this season ought to be quite challenging. And the state of transfers in the Southern Section will continue to be debated.

Even though a transfer committee set up by the Southern Section is expected to meet for a final time this fall to make recommendations, few expect any major changes to be passed.

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