It’s decision day for Zion Williamson, the nation’s top uncommitted high school basketball recruit.
Here’s what we know.
▪ Williamson will announce his college choice before a national audience on ESPN2 between 8-8:15 p.m. Saturday in a ceremony at his school, Spartanburg Day. We have a live stream set up here. The McDonald’s All-American has done a good job not tipping his hand on what school he will pick.
▪ Five colleges made final pitches with him this past week. According to coach Lee Sartor, Kentucky spoke to Williamson on Sunday while Duke came in Tuesday. Clemson, South Carolina and North Carolina all were there Thursday to talk with him. “I think it is going to come down to the fit and what feels right for him,” Sartor said.
▪ Clemson was the first Power Five school to offer Williamson following his ninth grade year and have been building a strong relationship with him since.
▪ Clemson’s staff has also been building a bond with Williamson’s stepfather, Lee Anderson, and mother, Sharonda Sampson, since that time. Williamson is very close with his family and relationships and loyalty are important to him. Anderson played for Clemson.
▪ Clemson has sold Williamson on having a chance to create a legacy at Clemson and go down as perhaps the best player in school history instead of being one of several high draft picks to play at a school like North Carolina, Duke or Kentucky.
▪ Members of South Carolina’s coaching staff, including Frank Martin, had an in-home visit with Williamson on Thursday morning. The tone of the visit, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation, was “informal” as USC staffers gave Williamson final reminders on why they feel he should select the Gamecocks.
▪ A big part of USC’s final pitch to Williamson: The potential of next season’s team. USC feels, with Williamson on board, it could make the case for having one of the best front lines in the country. The Gamecocks would be adding the 6-foot-6, 272-pound Williamson with Chris Silva and Maik Kotsar, a couple three-year starters.
▪ A vision was also painted of Williamson pairing with new USC signee Brian Bowen, putting two McDonald’s All-Americans on the floor together for the first time in school history.
“Brian Bowen will alleviate pressure off of you because they can’t double-team if there’s another McDonald’s All-American on the floor, as big as he is, as skilled as he is,” a source said, relaying the pitch.
▪ South Carolina’s short visit ended with hugs and handshakes. Asked for USC’s chances with Williamson, a source said the Gamecocks are “hoping for the best.”
He said it
Clemson remains the favorite to land Williamson, according to the 247Sports Crystal Ball.
Evan Daniels, FS1’s College Basketball Insider, picked Clemson to be Williamson’s choice but wrote Friday for 247Sports that “I am admittedly not 100 percent sure that’s where he ends up. There have been twist and turns throughout this recruitment, and I wouldn’t be stunned if Williamson jumped on stage and picked up a different hat. Williamson has done a great job of keeping this decision close to the vest.”