Taking a charge from Duke's Zion Williamson is like getting hit by a Jeep, a physicist concludes
The Duke star, listed at close to 300 pounds, generates as much force as an SUV in motion when he's on the court
To say taking a charge from a full-grown man is the equivalent of being hit by a bus is a commonplace description in the basketball world. Now, however, it appears to be nearly true when describing what it's like to voluntarily be mulled over by Duke freshman Zion Williamson.
The Wall Street Journal consulted a physicist from the University of Lynchburg, Eric Goff, to try and determine just how much force 2019's likely No. 1 pick generates. After reviewing clips, Goff's attempt to quantify the force Williamson generates -- to try and determine whether the getting-hit-by-a-bus description was apt -- amounted to a determination that it isn't far off from it.
At the request of The Wall Street Journal, University of Lynchburg physicist Eric Goff reviewed grainy clips of Williamson charges ... and quantify the basketball equivalent of getting hit by a bus. He calculated the maximum force of impact during one Williamson charge to be 300 pounds—the equivalent of the average force during a similar, head-on collision with a Jeep traveling 10 miles per hour.
Williamson is listed at a stout 6-foot-7, 285 pounds on Duke's roster. Despite his acrobatic dunks and gasp-inducing swats as he soars through the air, 285 pounds is ... not small. And the way in which he attacks the basket -- the sheer force, speed and strength he uses -- is jaw-dropping. It's no wonder the force he creates has been likened to a head-on collision with a Jeep in motion, even if it is a bit curious to think that a Jeep -- which most likely weighs at least two tons -- would generate the same force as a 285-pound human.
As WSJ noted in its story, there have been some brave souls along the way in high school that elected to get plowed over by Williamson. At the college level, though, Williamson has yet to be whistled for a charge through nine games. After reading this, would you dare volunteer?
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