Evan Daniels: Spotlight at UK, Duke might not be for Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson, right, is friends with UK signee Immanuel Quickley. (USA Basketball Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

College basketball recruiting analyst Evan Daniels has nothing but his instincts to go on, but he’s expecting South Carolina senior Zion Williamson to announce Saturday night that he’ll play his college basketball at Clemson.

He picked today to make the announcement because it is his mother’s birthday and thought it would be a way to thank her for the sacrifices she made for him.

Williamson has Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas and Kentucky as his final six schools. All but Kansas and Kentucky made visits with him this week.

Daniels watched Williamson last weekend at the Hoophall Classic and said Friday on The Leach Report on WLAP (630 AM) that Williamson was a “fascinating” prospect because of his size (6-6, 275 pounds) and athleticism. He can punish a rim with a dunk or pull up and hit a perimeter jumper.

He’s a hybrid forward that ranks among the top three players in the 2018 recruiting class.

So what makes Clemson the right fit for him?

“Zion is a quiet kid. Just maybe the spotlight at UK or Duke is not for him,” Daniels, who works for FoxSports and 247Sports, said. “Clemson has also done a really good job recruiting him.”

At one time the perception in the Bluegrass was that Williamson would pick UK since he’s such good friends with Immanuel Quickly, a UK signee.

“I think that was more perception than reality. I don’t think Zion ever really let anybody know where he was going, and still has not,” Daniels said.

He’ll make his announcement on ESPN about 8 p.m. during a press conference at his high school in Spartanburg. That’s about 15 minutes before the UK-Florida game is on ESPN.

What happens with UK recruiting if Williamson does not pick Kentucky?

“Truth is there is not a lot of talent at the big man spot still out there in the 2018 class,” Daniels said. “If they don’t offer Moses Brown, I am not sure what direction they might take. Maybe they will wait for the grad transfer market. Somebody will pop up for Kentucky. Somebody always does.

“There’s also no certainty at Kentucky this year on who will or who will not be back next year. There’s nothing certain yet on who may or may not leave for the draft, so that’s a little different for UK, too.”

5 comments

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  1. We’ll know tonight.
    GO CATS

  2. I don’t see any of our players making the first round. Perhaps Knox can sneak in, but that’s iffy.
    Considering that prospect, I just can’t imagine that Williams would pick UK.

  3. Coach K beats Coach Cal at his own game…again.
    That’s embarrassing.

  4. Do you blame him for going to Duke? Surrounded by much better players and doesn’t have to be “the guy” every night. Coach K is beating Cal because he has good upper classmen on every team. The freshmen coming in don’t have to be superstars from day 1. Cal doesn’t get that part of it. Seems like Cal wants to be the only coach to win a title with just freshman, and that ain’t happening. I like getting 2-3 superstars each year, but you have to have experience to go with them.

  5. His mom is a big time Duke fan that’s one reason he chosen Duke and another is most of our current player’s willbe back if the current thrends continue. We’re going have to just enjoy this season and see what happens in which we be lucky to the 64 field unless Cal has a magic stick in which I don’t see.

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