What was once becoming a cold recruiting trail for one of the most exciting high school prospects in the country is starting to warm up.
Yesterday Roy Williams visited the home of the No. 2 recruit in the 2018 class Zion Williamson. This is coming off the heels of Williamson’s official visit to Chapel Hill during Homecoming weekend. Williamson attended the exhibition game between UNC and Barton, where he got to sit in the student section next to UNC legend Phil Ford. He was also at Kenan Stadium Saturday to see the football team square off against Miami. UNC senior Theo Pinson hosted Williamson for the duration of his stay.
Ever since his last official visit back in March, Zion Williamson had basically disappeared off UNC’s radar. Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, and UCLA have been key target schools for the Spartanburg native to this point, with Kentucky seeming like the most likely candidate to land him. Still, it was a surprise when Williamson decided to drop his consideration of UCLA and added UNC back into the mix. He was scheduled to visit UCLA this past weekend before cancelling and decided to visit UNC instead.
So what caused the sudden change? Perhaps one of the easiest answers would point to UNC commit Nassir Little. Williamson and Little have been friends for a while, and have played against each other occasionally on the AAU circuit. Seeing how it was less than a month ago when Little announced his commitment, it is fair to say that this may have had some pull in Williamson re-considering UNC.
Another factor that may have played a part in Williamson reconsidering UNC is the recent decision by the NCAA not to punish the school in the academic case that had cast a shadow over the program for the past seven years.
Ever since the Weinstein Report came out in 2014, Roy Williams found himself having to deal with all of the negative recruitment strategies that other schools were utilizing to steer students away from attending UNC. The most notable recruit that UNC missed out on during that time was former Duke player Brandon Ingram, who openly admitted that had it not been for the NCAA investigation he more than likely would’ve chosen UNC instead.
UNC’s momentum with Williamson should make things interesting between now and whenever he decides to announce his commitment. One thing that is worth noting is that it is still unknown what the plan would be should UNC pick up one more person for their 2018 recruiting class.
Roy Williams has continued to pursue Williamson, Romeo Langford, and Simi Shittu. Landing any of these three targets would almost guarantee UNC a top-five recruiting class, but landing Williamson would make it hard for any school to knock them off of the very top of the list. We will see in the coming months who North Carolina manages to land to complete their roster.