This summer has been a busy time for college recruiters with so many games and tournaments going on in the AAU circuit. On North Carolina’s side, quite a bit has been happening with current UNC commits in Coby White and Leaky Black. One undecided recruit from their class had been pretty quiet, as he is just now coming back from injury. Let’s just say: five-star recruit Zion Williamson isn’t staying quiet anymore.
Williamson is finally seeing the court again after suffering a knee injury that had kept him out of AAU action for the beginning of the summer. Now that he’s back, he is reminding everyone why he is ESPN 100’s number two recruit in the nation.
This weekend in the 2017 Adidas Gauntlet, Williamson finished the first and second rounds with a double-double, averaging a little over 30 points and 10 rebounds for both games. His team, the South Carolina Supreme, ran into a wall in the second round when they were knocked out by one of the best teams in the tournament the Game Elite.
Williamson also took the time this weekend to talk about his recruiting process, which involves Clemson, South Carolina, UNC, Duke, Kentucky, UCLA, Arizona, and Kansas. When talking about what he is looking for in potential schools, he had a lot to say:
“I will try and find similar players that came through that program and just like how they played there. I want a coach that will actually coach me and not just, yes or let me do what I want because in the NBA the coach is going to be on me and my spot can easily be replaced so I am just looking for a coach to push me to limits that I have never been pushed before.”
Williamson also spoke a little bit about UNC, saying that Hubert Davis is now recruiting him since C.B. McGrath has left Chapel Hill for a head coaching job at UNCW. He also said he is being told that he, Coby White, and Rechon Black would be strong enough pieces to potentially win a National Championship. This, without a doubt, could be very feasible, especially if pieces like Jalek Felton, Luke Maye, and Cam Johnson stick around (Felton would be the biggest question mark, depending on how his freshman season goes).
There is good news about Williamson’s recruiting process: he stated that he hopes to make a decision as to where he will be going to school before the start of his senior season. If he is sincere in what he is saying, this means no Kevin Knox situation where fans and recruits alike will be waiting on pins and needles for a decision to be made about one of the more coveted recruits in the 2018 class.
The potentially bad news is that there should be no surprise if he ends up in Kentucky. While nothing is set in stone, he has told reporters that he is interested in playing with five-star point guard Immanuel Quickley who has Kentucky on his final four list of schools. Other schools Quickley has on his list are Kansas, Miami and Maryland.
“That’s the real deal. I want to play with Immanuel Quickley when I go to college,” he said. “If he goes to Kentucky, then I’m going to look into Kentucky really hard.”
Should Quickley decide to go to a non-Kentucky school, one would have to think that UNC will have a fairly decent chance of convincing Williamson to make his way to Chapel Hill. North Carolina is currently in a “what more can we have that you would want” position, coming off two National Championship appearances, a National Championship win, back-to-back ACC regular season titles, a one-and-done player drafted in the first round of the NBA draft after spending the year as a bench player, a very strong showing by UNC’s rookies in the NBA summer league, and two strong pieces for the 2018 class.
The only elephant in the room remaining is the NCAA investigation, which undoubtedly is still a chosen weapon for other schools to use against UNC.
It should be a very interesting few months to see what Zion Williamson decides to do. Hopefully UNC has enough of what he wants that we will see a top five recruit suit up in Carolina blue for the first time in quite a while. Stay tuned to THB for more recruiting updates and news.