Zion Harmon was one of basketball’s hottest prospects. Harmon was considered the number 1 recruit from Kentucky thanks to his exploits at Marshall County. The consensus four-star recruit was courted by, among others, Seton Hall, Kansas, Murray State, and Maryland. Unexpectedly, he committed to Western Kentucky, saying he felt comfortable with the coach and the city.
Western Kentucky isn’t a popular destination for four-star recruits. Nevertheless, people expected Harmon to shine and progress with minimal fuss to the NBA. However, Harmon, a player tipped to hit the ground running at Western Kentucky, vanished.
Zion’s alleged drug-related and mental health struggles affected his life and career
Zion Harmon didn’t play a game for Western Kentucky. In January 2022, the school announced that he’d left the basketball program and the school. Western Kentucky said Harmon didn’t enroll due to personal reasons.
“Zion is still the same,” head coach Rick Stansbury said. “We’re here to help him, but he’s not enrolled for personal reasons. And again, moving forward, I just hope everything gets better for him.”
The nature of Harmon’s issues remained unclear until he started uploading bizarre posts on social media. Two posts stood out: a video of Harmon moving his fingers randomly while saying nothing; a photo of Harmon staring menacingly into the camera.
In April 2022, reports emerged claiming Harmon had smoked laced marijuana, which reportedly triggered schizophrenia. According to Georgetown Behavioral Hospital, drug use doesn’t cause schizophrenia. However, drugs can induce schizophrenic episodes in people with schizophrenia.
Harmon likely had the disease, but it hadn’t been diagnosed. It explained the weird social media posts and the cryptic comment by coach Stansbury that he hoped everything would get better for Harmon.
Harmon is rebuilding his career with the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats
Despite his talent, Harmon’s drug issues would have dissuaded any team from signing him. However, the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats gambled, signing a talented yet dwindling player shunned by Western Kentucky.
Wildcats head coach Reggie Theus effusively praised the new recruit. “Zion is truly a player that has all levels of basketball covered,” Theus told HBCU Gameday. “He’s a big-time scorer. He sees the floor. He puts pressure on the defense. His accolades speak for themselves.”
“Zion has already played at a very high level, and he’s put up great numbers doing it. He plays the position I played, and I’m excited to teach him everything that it takes to succeed beyond the physical gifts. It’s going to be fun to watch,” Theus added.
Theus praised his associate head coach Chris Pompey for building trust with Harmon and convincing him that the Wildcats program suited him. Theus stated that Zion’s recruitment demonstrated the burgeoning status of the Wildcats program. In Theus’ eyes, Harmon and the Wildcats were a perfect match. He continued:
“We’re incredibly happy that his family has the confidence in us to send their son here to play for me. We’re building something special, and I’m excited for the future of this program.”
Harmon seems to have overcome his drug and mental problems at Bethune-Cookman University. The guard is an integral part of the team: he leads the scoring chart, averaging 13.7 points per game. On 9th January 2023, he scored a season-high 36 points in a 102-75 loss against Southern University.
Zion Harmon is undoubtedly on his way back to the top. “Slow success builds character; Fast success builds ego,” Harmon posted on 5th February 2023.