Zion Williamson returns to Columbia area for South Carolina Hoops Festival
RETRACTION: In the original publication, South Carolina assistant coach Bruce Shingler was said to be in attendance. He was not at Irmo High School.
IRMO, S.C. — Zion Williamson proved again on Saturday night at the South Carolina Hoops Festival that he is indeed the best player from the state’s class of 2018.
Not that anyone needed to be reminded.
Williamson, a 5-star small forward from Spartanburg (S.C.) Day School, took home MVP honors from the Junior Boys Showcase game at Irmo High School.
“I just love the environments like this, just coming out here, putting on a show and having fun, doing the thing I love, playing basketball,” Williamson said. “What else could I ask for?”
Festival organizer Carey Rich moved the event from Heathwood Hall when demand for tickets got too high. The games, which featured the Capital City All-Star games and a Junior Girls Showcase, nearly filled Irmo’s 3,400 seat gym.
Rich, a former point guard at the University of South Carolina, has organized the games for the last two years.
“I’ve been apart of the inner workings of recruiting in the state of South Carolina. I’ve seen it, going back to the 80’s and Zion is a lot different, and the reason being because of where social media is right now,” Rich said. “Obviously, he’s good and he’s entertaining and the talent that he possess is phenomenal, so that adds to it. Because of what social media is, everything he does is magnified times 10.
“When guys came up in my time, during the peak of recruiting in South Carolina, social media wasn’t available or existed, but also, I don’t think we had any guys that athletic either. He’s almost like a freak of nature.”
Williamson scored 30 points and grabbed 8 rebounds during the showcase game.
An easy 360 pic.twitter.com/46yIMgxYSJ
— Hale McGranahan (@Hale_SECcountry) March 11, 2017
Over the last few months, Williamson visited a handful of schools: South Carolina, Clemson, Duke, North Carolina and Wofford.
Recruiting visits are on pause right now. He’s concentrating on getting ready for the upcoming AAU cycle, during which he’ll run with S.C. Supreme, an Adidas sponsored team that’s coached by his stepfather.
The squad also includes 2018 point guard Grant Singleton (Sumter) and 2018 small forward Dontarius James (Kershaw), both of whom also played in the Junior Boys Showcase.
Williamson, whose offer list includes nearly all of the country’s blue blood programs, won’t announce a college decision until 2018.He could, however, unveil a list of favorites.
“Location is not a problem for me,” Williamson said, when asked about his decision. “The main thing for me, the type of relationship they have for me and my family. And what plan do they have for me in my future, outside of basketball.”
— Lou Bezjak (@LouatTheState) March 11, 2017