Kentucky has been viewed as the favorite for Zion Williamson, but that may be changing as the summer circuit ends.
Late Monday night, Kansas offered 2018 forward Dontarius James, which seemed like an odd move. James is an under-the-radar recruit who only had offers from Austin Peay, Campbell, College of Charleston, Massachusetts, South Alabama, Presbyterian, Wofford, Old Dominion and South Carolina State.
Now, to James’ credit, he is a great scoring guard who finished with 601 points during his junior season, which ranked third in the state of South Carolina and actually ahead of UNC signee Jalek Felton (578). James even had a 47-point outburst, so perhaps he’s about to blow up on the recruiting scene and score more major offers.
But for all the good James did, no other major program or even respectable mid-major has offered. He is not even ranked by any major recruiting service. That would all suggest a powerhouse like Kansas would not even remotely consider an offer right now...unless there’s some other agenda at work, like one Zion Williamson.
It just so happens that Williamson and James are good friends who played together on the AAU circuit. It’s not unheard of for a school to offer a good friend or family member to get an elite recruit. Being that Zion is ranked No. 1 overall in his class by 247, he’s certainly the caliber of player that schools will pull a few strings to get.
Oh, did we mention that right after Kansas offered James, 247 Sports recruiting guru Andrew Slater changed his prediction for Zion to Kansas?
Even Zion himself has given some hints that Kansas, not Kentucky, may now be a legitimate threat. It began this weekend when he shot down the talk of a package deal with Immanuel Quickley.
This summer, Zion has spent time on the AAU circuit with another point guard, Devon Dotson, who Kansas is favored for. Zion recently spoke with Slater about how teaming up with Dotson was a great experience, which may continue in college.
“I can’t thank Devon enough for coming. He brings so much to the table,” said Zion. “We talk about going to the same school. We have a really good relationship.”
There’s still a ways to go in this recruitment with Zion not even setting up official visits yet, but it’s clear that Kentucky should not be viewed as the runaway favorite any longer.
Kentucky may still be his leader, but Kansas has emerged as a legitimate threat for the game-changing recruit.