Zion Williamson's first open scrimmage with Pelicans draws more than 10K fans

"Last year, I was impressed with the number of people who came out, but this year was a completely different animal," Alvin Gentry said.

Pelicans star Zion Williamson wowed with an alley-oop to Lonzo Ball that got fans cheering at the open scrimmage.   -  (Getty Images)

Zion Williamson is helping New Orleans Pelicans break records before the NBA season even begins.

Pelicans officials estimated the rookie phenom drew a crowd of more than 10,000 fans for Saturday's open scrimmage at Smoothie King Center, which surpassed the previous record of 7,500 attendees set last season.

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"Last year, I was very impressed with the number of people who came out, but this year was a completely different animal," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said, per the team's official website. "The whole atmosphere, the energy in the building, the number of fans we had. The fact that there were people sitting in the upper deck is really a surprise. The enthusiasm in the building was really good."

Williamson wowed with an alley-oop to Lonzo Ball that got fans cheering.

"I feel like I've had a lot of new experiences that have been great, but to actually walk onto the court that we'll be playing on a lot, it was great," Williamson said. "I think we'll have a lot of great memories here."

Williamson, who turned 19 this summer, was selected first overall in the 2019 NBA Draft after averaging 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks per game in his lone season at Duke.

The Pelicans open regular-season play Oct. 22 against the defending-champion Toronto Raptors.