Sunday, October 8, 2017

2018 standout Zion Williamson recaps Late Night visit

Kansas basketball recruit Zion Williamson waves to the crowd after they started chanting his name during the 33rd-annual Late Night in the Phog on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas basketball recruit Zion Williamson waves to the crowd after they started chanting his name during the 33rd-annual Late Night in the Phog on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.


For the first time since his visit to Kansas for Late Night in the Phog a couple of weeks ago, prized Class of 2018 recruit Zion Williamson talked publicly about his recent trip to Lawrence.

Speaking on camera with Krysten Peek, of, at the USA Basketball minicamp in Colorado Springs over the weekend, Williamson said his official visit to KU was “everything I thought it was gonna be and more. The fans there showed a lot of love.”

That love, while fairly common at Allen Fieldhouse no matter what year it is, was not limited to loud cheers, packed bleachers and clever signs.

All of those things were there, of course. But the fan flavor that most blew Williamson away was the brief moment when the KU student section started a thundering, “We want Zion” chant that bounced off of every surface inside the old building.

“That part was crazy,” Williamson told Peek. “I didn't expect all that.”

As for other details of his KU visit, the 6-foot-7, 230-pound Williamson who is ranked either first or second in the 2018 class depending on where you’re looking, kept it brief.

Although he did not play any real ball with the current Jayhawks before Late Night, he told Peek he went through a morning workout while in Lawrence, which not only gave him an up-close look at KU’s facilities, but also allowed him to stay on schedule with preparations for his upcoming senior season.

That was merely the tip of the iceberg in the pitch the Jayhawks were able to throw at Williamson while he was in town. As the only uncommitted official visitor on campus that weekend — 6-10 big man David McCormack committed just a few days before Late Night and was on his official visit, as well — Williamson received the lion’s share of the attention from the entire KU program.

“They have two bigs committed so far,” said Williamson of McCormack and 6-9, 245-pound power forward Silvio De Sousa. “So if I was to commit there I’d play 1 through 3, kind of like a Josh Jackson type, just playing everywhere. That’s been their message.”

After averaging 38 points per game as a junior at Spartanburg (S.C.) High, Williamson told Peek he would like to do more during the 2017-18 prep season.

“Probably just work on getting more triple-doubles, just more all-around game,” he told Peek when asked how he planned to follow up last season’s impressive effort.

With a trip to Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness on tap for this weekend and potential visits still to Duke and UCLA on tap, Williamson is still a ways out from making a decision.

“Late November, early December,” Williamson told Peek. “But, if it doesn't feel right, then probably longer."

Williamson also stressed to Peek that, while the blue bloods seem to be leading the way in his recruiting, people should not count out in-state programs Clemson and South Carolina.

“They're showing me a lot of love and I like the message they're giving me,” he said of the two South Carolina schools. “I might take an official to one of those.”

Like all prospects, Williamson is allowed to take up to five official visits. College basketball’s early signing period runs from Nov. 8-15 and the regular period is set to run from April 11, 2018 through May 16, 2018.

Other impressions:

While Williamson was far and away the most hyped prospect to attend USA Basketball’s minicamp over the weekend, there were a few other KU targets in attendance at the 54-player camp that featured 18 elite prospects from the Class of 2018 and 36 more from the 2019, 2020 and 2021 classes, many of whom are on KU's radar.

Here's a quick look at some other thoughts from the weekend.

Fox Sports analyst Evan Daniels on Quentin Grimes: “Like what I’m seeing out of five-star combo guard Quentin Grimes. Major upside here. Has his vision on display.”

Rivals analyst Eric Bossi on possible packaged deals with 2018 shooting guard Romeo Langford: “Five-star point guard Darius Garland and five-star combo guard Quentin Grimes are both players that Langford appears to have a strong on and off the floor chemistry with.”

Rivals analyst Corey Evans on Williamson: “There’s no discussion this morning. Zion Williamson has been the best player on the floor, no argument.”

247 Sports analyst Jerry Meyer on Williamson comps: "Larry Johnson is one I have used before for Zion Williamson. Think I like Charles Barkley a little better. A shorter Shawn Kemp?"

None by Krysten Peek


Henry Joseph Hofmeister 4 years, 8 months ago

I think he would be like a josh here. You don't limit talent but he wouldn't be point or paint. He's the forward that goes where his game is at the moment.

Henry Joseph Hofmeister 4 years, 8 months ago

He could be limited as we have a pretty good guard and post setup if you want to compare to josh's game. but that also could be looked at as dayum, that guy is what these guards are looking for to set up, that is what the post is set for to give the outside in game of a forward. we seem to keep looking at svi and we did the same with perry. talent on the outside doesn't develop, it is. we develop bigs and points. they highlight the talent of our one and done forwards.

Craig Carson 4 years, 8 months ago

He'd likely play SF..if he is as good as advertised, he will start..KU has some bigs but they dont have a dominant SF..I think Cunliffe will be great at KU at SF..but you dont pass on a guy like Williamson if you can get him

Shannon Gustafson 4 years, 8 months ago

He's the #1 player in the class. He starts regardless of who is on the roster. He may not start at his "natural" position but there is no way he doesn't start regardless of who's on the roster.

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 8 months ago

How about a recruiting class of DeSousa, McCormack, Williamson, Grimes, and Dotson? That would take the #1 spot for sure, with a recruit at every position.

Two have already committed, and the other three are clearly possibilities, especially Dotson and Grimes. Of course, everybody wants them, so the likelihood of getting all three is probably not the most likely trifecta, but it is the best situation that KU has been in for a long time, notwithstanding all of the recruiting success that Coach Self and his staff have had in the past.

Throw in the transfers who will be available next year, and you will have a pretty good lineup even without Devonte, Svi, and most likely Malik, Udoka, Lagerald, and perhaps Billy Preston, all of whom will probably declare for the draft.

Craig Carson 4 years, 8 months ago

not sure I totally agree with you..Svi and Graham are gone obviously..Malik is about 90% since he already waited a year longer than anyone thought he would..the longer he stays the lower his draft stock goes.....Preston and Azibuike im not sure about yet..Preston might like the idea of playing with his old HS team mate McCormack, or he might not have an overly great season..same with Azibuike..unless he channels his inner Embiid, he is gonna need to learn a lot more post moves before he leaves..BUT, those 2 ARE the KU front court so both will need 1st round NBA pick type of seasons if KU is finally gonna break though their elite 8 sure would be nice to see Self add another FF or even NC to his resume this season...Vick is the one im most curious about.he has shown signs, but he is gonna have to really have a break out type of year..10-11ppg isnt gonna get him much NBA talk..he will need to average around 15+ppg..

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 8 months ago

Time will tell, Craig, but my bet is that Malik, Udoka and Lagerald are gone after this year, and Preston may not be far behind. These kids almost always think that they are ready for the NBA well before the rest of us think they are. Follow the money, my friend!

Henry Joseph Hofmeister 4 years, 8 months ago

god i'd love to see lagerald stay another year.

Shannon Gustafson 4 years, 8 months ago

The new draft rules allow them to test the waters and come back if the feedback they get doesn't convince them they will get drafted. This should eliminate "most" of the examples of players leaving too early and going undrafted.

Tim Orel 4 years, 8 months ago

I think this year there were far more players who left early and were still undrafted than those who left early and were drafted. The feedback will help some, like Svi, who are probably on the bubble, but I think it depends upon the advisers/friends to the players that they trust. If they're telling the player to go, it's likely they'll go, even if the NBA and coaches advise against it.

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