Chris Richards/Inside Carolina

Zion Williamson Tours UNC, Meets with Roy Williams

The 2018 forward got his first look at Chapel Hill last week.

UNC’s recruitment of Zion Williamson is moving forward.

After multiple viewings during the April evaluation period and a phone call on June 15 – the first day coaches could call rising juniors – the Carolina staff hosted Williamson for an unofficial visit last week.

It was Williamson’s first trip to Chapel Hill.

“Coach (C.B.) McGrath greeted me and my mom when we got there,” Williamson said. “He took us to meet Coach (Steve) Robinson while Coach Roy (Williams) was doing team camp. After that Coach McGrath took us on a tour around campus, and we saw things like the English and business school buildings.”

Seeing Carolina’s business school was important to Williamson, a 6-7, 220-pound class of 2018 forward, because he wants to major in International Business. He hopes to use his degree to one day work for a shoe/apparel company like Nike, Adidas, Reebok or UnderArmour.

“We met with academic counselors and talked to them for a little bit about class schedules and things like that,” said Williamson. “I liked that on the campus everything is right there. All the academic buildings are close. It’s not like I’d have to walk like 10 minutes to get to another class.”

Before a sit-down meeting with Williams, McGrath took Williamson and his mother through the Carolina basketball museum.

“I really enjoyed the museum,” said Williamson. “They had shrines to Michael Jordan, Raymond Felton (a South Carolina native like Williamson), Vince Carter and Coach Dean Smith.”

Williamson was Co-MVP at the NBPA Top 100 Camp two weeks ago, has risen in nearly every scouting network’s national rankings and has pulled in more than 12 offers in the last six weeks.

So, it’s understandable when he says he came to UNC expecting a scholarship offer. Williams explained why it hasn’t come – yet.

“He was just telling me that they’re going to start recruiting me hard and explained the plan they had for me,” said Williamson. “He told me, ‘You can ask anybody, I’m the slowest person to offer anybody’ and I started laughing. He said ‘It’s not like I don’t want to offer you… it’s that I’m not going to offer you just to offer you.’ He said ‘I want to have a good relationship, a strong relationship, so that offer can mean something.’”

“I did kind of think that they were going to offer me, but his reasoning behind not offering made a lot of sense to me,” Williamson continued. “I’ve had some schools that offered me and I’ve never even talked to their coach. If he does decide to offer, I feel like it’s going to mean a lot more.”

In North Carolina’s system, Williams explained, Williamson slots as a combo forward.

“He said he can see me playing like a ‘3’ and a ‘4,’ because they run a wide offense and only the ‘5’ posts up,” said Williamson. “The ‘3’ and ‘4’ are trail men in their offense and have decisions to shoot, pass or cut. It doesn’t really matter to me because I want to win.”

Before heading back to his hometown of Spartanburg, S.C., Williamson watched current and former UNC players – including Theo Pinson, Seventh Woods, Justin Jackson, Joel Berry, Nate Britt and Kendall Marshall – play pickup in the Smith Center.

“Overall, it was a great visit because it was my first time on North Carolina’s campus,” he said. “They just went to the national championship game and a lot of kids don’t even have an opportunity to meet with Coach Williams. I sat down and talked to him, so I’d say the visit was great. My mom said the same thing.”

Williamson visited Clemson the next day and is also scheduled to take a trip to N.C. State this week. In the six days since his UNC visit, Williamson has had daily text conversations with McGrath and a phone conversation with Williams.

“He (Williams) asked me what kind of things I liked,” said Williamson. “I told him and he said ‘See this makes me feel better already because I know some of the things you like. That’s the kind of relationship I want to have with you.’”

Williamson and his Game Elite 17U team will compete in the Adidas Gauntlet Finale in Spartanburg, S.C. beginning July 7.

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