Top 2018 UNC Target Zion Williamson Proves Elite Status

Dominant summer earned S.C. rising junior Top 5 ranking and spot atop UNC's recruiting board.

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. – Zion Williamson characterized this summer as “the greatest basketball experience of my life.”

And with his memorable summer winding down, Williamson made a trip to Southern California for the annual adidas Nations tournament. His team struggled to get in the win column, but the 6-foot-7 forward left a lasting impact on the event in just three games.

Over the course of 24 hours, Williamson averaged 20 points and four rebounds a game while shooting 82.1 percent from the floor and 76.5 percent from the free throw line. In Williamson’s opening game he went 9-for-9 from the field and then followed that performance up going 4-for-5 against Team Canada on Saturday morning.

The big test came for Williamson on Saturday night, when he faced off against a team that featured four of the top six players in the country and eight of the top 15. On the first possession he blew by senior wing D.J. Harvey from the left side and then followed that up with an explosive finish over twin towers DeAndre Ayton and Wendell Carter Jr.

“I hear from my peers that my vertical catches people off guard all the time,” said Williamson.

In that final game, Williamson scored 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting and also hit his lone three-point attempt of the tournament.

“That was a great experience, they were an all-star team,” said Williamson. “Playing against the number one and number two players in the country. I don’t know where else I could get that.”

“Mentally, I wanted to prove something, but I was going to stick to the parameters of my game. I’m not going to try to do stuff I can’t do. If my teammate was open, I was going to find them.”

It’s that type of skill and attitude that has made Williamson the top target in the 2018 class for Roy Williams. After watching the South Carolina native countless times throughout the July recruiting periods, a UNC scholarship offer followed as soon as Williams and the coaching staff reconvened in Chapel Hill.

“All about family,” said Williamson of the Tar Heels. “They want to see you at your best, they want to see you at a lot of games before they offer and it’s about building a relationship.”

With all of the recruiting attention, Williamson was rather tight lipped regarding his future plans, noting “my game plan is to try and take as many visits in the fall as I can.”

However, when asked about his relationship with teammate and 2018 UNC commitment Rechon Black, Williamson smiled and said, “He’s been in my ear a lot. He wants me to commit now. He’s saying that coming to North Carolina is like joining a family. Roy Williams told me the same thing that North Carolina is a family.”


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