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Zion Williamson recruiting update and final predictions for college decision

We gathered our staff for Zion Williamson predictions and debate who is actually the best fit for this generational talent.

High School Basketball: Zion Williamson Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The most well-known high school basketball player since LeBron James is making his decision. Zion Williamson’s decision is set for Saturday at 8:15 pm EST.

Williamson, a five-star power forward who’s a unanimous top-three recruit in the 2018 class, has been made famous for his showstopping dunks that can be found all over the internet with millions of views.

Williamson may not be a generational talent in terms of his total package, but he’s got a combination of athleticism and size that hasn’t been seen since LeBron. His dunking skills alone can make him a program-changing talent for whatever program he joins.

Williamson has had many different leaders in the predictions of his recruitment. Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and now Clemson have all seemed like a suitable fit at one point or another for Williamson.

That’s due in part to Williamson’s stout poker face. The 6-6, 275 lb phenom hasn’t hardly given any indication to where he’s going to this point.

Clemson is the current favorite, mostly because it’s right in Williamson’s backyard and he’d be the clear star of the team.

With the decision looming, we’ve gathered predictions and explanations from the A Sea of Blue staff.

Jeremy Chisenhall

While he really hasn’t let on to any school being a favorite, I’d be shocked if Williamson leaves home and goes anywhere other than Clemson. When you’re destined for the next level like Williamson is, it’s hard to fault a player for going somewhere where they can just play their game. Add on the fact that he’d be an hour from his home, and it’s easy to see why he’d pick Clemson.

It’s like Immanuel Quickley said: “Clemson’s about an hour from his home, you can’t be mad at somebody going to college an hour away.”

With a lack of indication from Williamson, I could see this be a Kevin Knox-type of recruitment where he shocks everyone. But Clemson just seems right for him.

Prediction: Clemson

Jamie Boggs

This is the most excited I have been about a recruit in a long time. Zion Williamson is as fun to watch as any player that has around since John Wall.

Despite his linebacker-esque stature, he runs and plays fast and can jump out of the gym. He would, no doubt, have Rupp Arena rocking at every home game next season.

Assuming the Wildcats get several pieces back from this year’s team, adding Zion to the class with Keldon Johnson, Tyler Herro, and Immanuel Quickley would likely make Kentucky a favorite to win the title next season.

Zion would also bring even more attention to the program with his star-power. He is the most well-known recruit since LeBron James, and he is already a celebrity in many ways. It seems like he would be a perfect fit for the most high-profile team in the country.

However, in recent months I feel like the tide has shifted in his recruitment. The buzz from from Kentucky, Duke, and Kansas to favoring his hometown schools of Clemson and South Carolina.

While I am still hopeful, especially since his announcement is coming right before tip-off of the Kentucky-Florida game, I do not have a good feeling about him committing to the Wildcats this weekend.

Prediction: Clemson

Mike Whitlow

The thing with Zion Williamson’s decision is that nowhere he could potentially go would surprise me. It makes total sense for him to be one of the true alphas close to home at Clemson or South Carolina, especially with former five-star recruit Brian Bowen now with the Gamecocks. Bowen’s a baller, and a late push from Frank Martin to get Williamson would be a massive swing in the SEC.

Still, something about all of this feels like he’s going to pick one of the blue bloods like Kentucky. Don’t ask me why or how. Of course there’s the Immanuel Quickley factor in Williamson considering the Cats.

There’s also Calipari nabbing Kevin Knox like a thief in the night from Duke and UNC this past recruiting period that gives UK fans some hope, plus Coach K getting R.J. Barrett coming in next season that could bring Duke into play.

In the end, if I had to choose ... I think Williamson chooses a different cat; the Tigers.

Prediction: Clemson

Alec Usleman

Zion Williamson is rated the #2 player in the country, according to ESPN’s recruiting rankings, and any team would obviously be thrilled to have his talents added to their 2018-19 class. He’s preparing to commit to a school this Saturday at 8:15 pm EST.

The schools that he’s visited (Clemson, South Carolina, Wofford, Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, and Kentucky) all have a shot at him, but most analysts believe the school with the best shot at adding the top-recruit will be a team close to home. He’s got some solid schools to choose from if he decides to stay home too: South Carolina, UNC, and Clemson.

I’m sure all of BBN wants him to be a Wildcat next season, but the chances of that are looking very slim. One of the biggest reasons analysts have stated for him not choosing UK is the large amount of talent already at or committed to the college.

With the way the Cats have been playing recently it looks as though we will retain more players than we thought. His talents could be highlighted more so if he were to be the undisputed top player at a smaller school.

I believe his final decision will be to go to the University of Clemson. After meeting with them for his 2nd visit on Thursday I think his mind has been made up. I did think for a while he might be deciding between both UK and Clemson, but to me his choice seems clear now.

I hope nothing but the best for this young kid. Kentucky would’ve loved to have him, but they’ll keep moving forward with what they have.

Prediction: Clemson

James Streble

It’s no secret that John Calipari’s mojo has been faltering lately, especially when it comes to top 5 talent. Duke is getting the lion’s share of those players and the rest are going to places like Oregon, Oklahoma, and other non-traditional blue blood schools. In short, Cal needs to get a big one and he needs to get him in the worst way.

Zion Williamson is the last of the big fish for Kentucky in the class of 2018. He has been thought of as a Kentucky lean for a long time but now Clemson and South Carolina seem to be surging. I’m going out on a limb and say that this is all a smokescreen.

I think Zion commits to Kentucky and I think he does it because he is a rock star player that wants to go to a rock star program. It won’t hurt than Immanuel Quickley is a close friend.

If Kentucky gets Zion they will be set up for a huge year. Multiple players should return from this year’s team. Add them to the class Cal will land and now we are really talking about a great team.

Prediction: Kentucky

John Cox

The Tigers have been recruiting Williamson the longest. If going to a bigger-name school to get more national attention was high on his priority list, then I think we would have seen him transfer from Spartanburg Day to one of the bigger prep schools — the Oak Hills or the Findlay Preps. But clearly Zion values family and his home.

It helps that Clemson basketball is a program on the rise Most of their key players should be returning next season, and it doesn’t help that Kentucky just lost to South Carolina, another team in the mix, that Clemson actually beat earlier this season

All of this is why I think he goes with Clemson, unfortunately for Cats fans.

Prediction: Clemson

Adam Haste

Zion Williamson is set to make his college decision Saturday, and many believe he will either be attending Clemson, Kentucky, or South Carolina. Obviously, Kentucky really wants to add him to the incoming class and he would change the level that next year’s team can be at.

Zion is a crazy athletic player that can get to the rim and elevate to dunk over people and finish strong through contact. He has an okay jumper to say the least but that can be improved if he really commits to it.

Kentucky will be fine next year if he doesn’t choose the Cats, but it would be great if he did decide to come join the BBN.

Most people have picked him to Clemson which would make sense because it is close to home, his mom has expressed that she would like him to stay close to home and Saturday is her birthday, so maybe him staying home is his gift for her.

However, he announces 15 minutes before the Kentucky game and he has said that he hasn’t made his final decision yet. Some optimism for Kentucky fans could be the fact that he stated in an interview with 247 Sports:

“I can’t just go to a school to be a local hero, I have to go to the school that is best for me”.

Even so, I’m siding with the home team on this one.

Prediction: Clemson

Zac Oakes

This is painful, because it seems like Zion Williamson and Kentucky are a match made in heaven. Zion is the kind of show-stopping talent and human highlight reel that seems destined to be showcased on national television as a star on one of the best teams in college basketball.

ESPN has to be drooling over the idea of such a marketable star like Williamson throwing down dunks for one of the most marketable programs in college basketball.

But sadly, they’re going to have to give those dreams up.

I think Zion is going to stay home and play for the Clemson Tigers. Clemson’s unexpected success this season has cooled the hot seat under head coach Brad Brownell, who has been all over Zion for quite some time now. Maybe with some uncertainty there, Zion changes paths and looks elsewhere, but the appeal of being the sole focus for the Tigers while being close to home for all the fans that supported him on his way up through the ranks is going to be way too appealing for the high school sensation.

Obviously, I think Kentucky is a great fit for him and would give him the maximum amount of exposure, but I think Williamson to Clemson is a near lock, so get ready for the “Calipari can’t recruit anymore” hot takes to be out in even more force than they’ve already been this season. But I will add, without Zion, Kentucky’s 2018 class has some concerning holes in it.

Hopefully I’m wrong.

Prediction: Clemson

Shane Shackelford

To me, Zion Williamson is the 21st century version of Charles Barkley. At 6-6 and 275 pounds, he has Barkley-type size. He is also a freakish athlete, much like Sir Charles.

Zion is without question a hero in his home state of South Carolina; Barkley was too. He’s also being recruited heavily by his home state; The Round Mound of Rebound was too in his home state of Alabama.

So here’s my logic; Zion can stay home and be a homestate hero that thumbs is nose to the national blue bloods like Duke and Kentucky and casts his lot with either Clemson or South Carolina.

Nothing wrong with that.

Or, Zion can decide that a blue blood school is where he makes his pit stop on the way to the League. Again, can’t really go wrong that route either.

My prediction is Zion reaches for the brass ring and chooses a blue blood. As a matter of fact, a very specific blue.

Prediction: Kentucky

John Morgan Francis

How can you talk about arguably the most famous high school basketball recruit since The King without mentioning Kentucky?

Kentucky is in contention for Zion Williamson but it’s doubtful they’ll be able to knock off the Clemson Tigers as the favorites to land him. While I could generate my inner fanboy and go with what my heart desires, I’ll stick with my brain on this one and break the spoiler that there’s a 95% chance he chooses Clemson.

Zion is his own man and seems pretty set on wearing a Tiger jersey next fall. Rising star Trae Young (freshman guard at Oklahoma and early Player of the Year favorite) certainly makes being “the star” attractive right now as Kentucky’s young freshman continue to struggle in mid-January.

While Kentucky is indeed the best school to choose, Zion clearly seems to think otherwise.

Prediction: Clemson

Jason Marcum

As soon as Zion Williamson decided he would commit in the middle of the season, I assumed Clemson would be the pick. Kentucky has too much talent potentially coming back next season, and while Zion would start over anyone on the current roster, it will make it harder for him to be an alpha dog and be ‘the’ guy for his team.

There’s no one player on the current roster or that’s coming in that could match Zion, but guys like Keldon Johnson, PJ Washington and others will command big roles, reducing the overall impact Zion can make.

But if he’s at Clemson, he’ll be ‘the’ guy from Day 1 and put up absurd numbers in his lone collegiate season. Zion has always struck me as a guy that wants to carry a team in college, something he’ll get every chance to do at Clemson.

I do think there’s still a chance Kentucky is the pick. While Clemson offers a lot, they don’t offer him the ability to play on a national stage as much as Kentucky will. I still find myself not being able to watch some big ACC matchups because even some of their biggest games will be on the ACC Network or a channel most of the nation doesn’t have.

Random, I know, but it is worth mentioning. Afterall, Zion is a rock star who wants to play on the biggest stage as much as possible. That’s something Kentucky offers that Clemson can not.

Still, I think Zion sides with his family, homestate and the program that’s recruited him the longest.

Prediction: Clemson