College basketball coaches hit the road earlier this month for in-person meetings with their top prospects and many of them headed directly to Spartanburg to see 2018 standout 6-7 Zion Williamson of Spartanburg Day. Not only is he considered the state’s top prospect for his class, some basketball pundits have dubbed him the best player nationally in the 2018 class.
Thus far, coaches from Clemson, USC, North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, Western Kentucky and Tennessee have been in and UCLA is scheduled for a Thursday visit. Williamson was to meet with Tennessee Wednesday but was home sick and that meeting will be rescheduled.
Clemson and USC are no doubt going to pull out all the stops in trying to convince Williamson to stay in-state. He has Clemson ties in that his father, Lee Anderson, played for the Tigers from 1975-78 before completing his career at Columbus State.
It’s all been a whirlwind for Williamson who actually grew up in Florence before moving to Spartanburg a couple of years ago. He’s doing his best to keep it all in focus.
“I’m honored that people are taking the time to recognize me as the number one player out of the whole country in 2018,” Williamson said. “How am I handling it? It’s not a problem because I really enjoy it. I see it as most kids don’t have the possibilities that I have so I’m always enjoying it and never complain.”
Williamson said coaches are attracted to him because of his overall basketball skills and his versatility on the court.
“They love me because I’m a basketball player,” he said. “I can play multiple positions, positions one thru four. That’s what they love most about me, my versatility. My strengths are attacking the basket really well, posting up smaller defenders and shooting the short and mid-range jumper.”
Williamson said he’s working on his three point shot and getting his feet quicker. Last season he averaged 28 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks per game.
Williamson wants to cut his list down next summer and he wants to sign in November of 2017. And he considers the Tigers and Gamecocks legitimate possibilities.
“They fit in really well with me because they are in-state and whenever they talk to me it’s always a family vibe” he said. “That’s what I love the most.”
Williamson last visited Clemson in late June. He had considered going last weekend for the Troy football game but didn’t make it, and he’s not going anywhere this weekend. His last visit to USC also was in June. He does plan to get to both this fall for games.
“South Carolina, I love their style of play and I love the way Coach Martin coaches his players, he preaches defense,” Williamson said. “What he tells me is I need to really think hard about South Carolina because if I do have the opportunity to go pro, I won’t be able to play in South Carolina. My only chance to play in South Carolina is in college.
“Clemson, Coach Brownell said joining Clemson is a life thing. They are always going to look out for their players and they always preach about family and what they can do for my future.”
Of course, it’s great to have the attention of the schools in your backyard, but in Williamson’s case, he’s got the blueblood programs of college basketball knocking on his door, and when Kansas, North Carolina, Duke, UCLA and Kentucky come calling, you have to take notice.
“College is college to me,” Williamson said. “I’m going to pick the school that gives me that family vibe and they tell me that if I come to this school it’s a life thing and what they can do for my future academically and athletically.”