North Carolina men’s basketball already has an impressive 2018 recruiting class. Rechon Black, Coby White, and Nassir Little currently comprise the #6 recruiting class in the country. Little and White were also named to the McDonald’s All-American team. If UNC doesn’t add anyone else to that list, it has already been a very successful year on the recruiting trail.
However, there is one recruit that the staff is still waiting to hear from. Zion Williamson will announce his decision on Saturday night at 8 PM at his high school, Spartanburg Day School. Evan Daniels of 247Sports reported the basic information earlier this week and got Williamson to talk about where he stands heading into the weekend.
Standing at 6-7 and 275 pounds, Williamson will provide his future school an interesting dilemma. His strength, explosiveness, and athleticism make him a matchup nightmare at both the power forward and the shooting guard positions. The talents he possesses haven’t often been seen on a basketball court. However, shooting is not considered to be a strength and he may be too small to consistently handle duty in the post. In the NBA, he would be the classic old-school ‘tweener. In college, Roy Williams would love to be chosen to solve that dilemma - even if only for what is likely to be one year.
Rated as a consensus top-5 recruit and a McDonald’s All-American, a commitment from Williamson would be an emphatic conclusion to this year’s recruiting cycle. It would also give the Heels three high-school all-stars, something they have accomplished 12 time before. Roy Williams has achieved that 5 times at UNC alone, most recently in 2014 with Justin Jackson, Theo Pinson, and Joel Berry. After a perceived recruiting dip over the last few years, another top-10 prospect would serve notice to the rest of the college basketball world that UNC is back to its old recruiting ways.
However, his entire recruitment has largely been a mystery. He reportedly has six teams in the mix - UNC, Clemson, Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, and South Carolina. In recent weeks, there has been increasing speculation that Williamson will shun the traditional blue blood programs and stay close to home with the Clemson Tigers. That would be a surprise, especially considering he never even took an official visit to the school. He did make numerous unofficial visits, though.
Clemson would also be an interesting selection considering they haven’t been to the NCAA tournament since 2011. If Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz are any indication, postseason success is slightly overrated for top NBA draft prospects. Williamson could just decide to stay in his home state of South Carolina, live it up for a year or two, and then continue onto greener pastures.
Regardless of his decision, this is a much different vibe than previous years. Last spring there was a brief moment of temporary insanity when many fans thought that UNC needed to sign Kevin Knox to maintain any momentum. That panic has dissipated. Adding Zion would certainly help fill initial talent gaps left by the graduating Joel Berry and Theo Pinson, but after already locking down three Top-75 players, the program is on solid ground for the foreseeable future.
Zion Williamson would just make that future a little brighter.