Five-star Zion Williamson previews his commitment

Zion Williamson will announce school January 20th (1:38)

Zion Williamson joins Michael Smith and Jemele Hill to discuss why it was blessing to sit out with a bruised foot and why certain schools shied away from recruiting the star player after learning about his injury. (1:38)

Staying home or leaving the state? Blue bloods or carving his own path?

Zion Williamson, the No. 2 player in the ESPN 100 and the top uncommitted senior in the country, will announce his college decision on Saturday night.

And no one seems to know for sure where he will end up.

Even narrowed down to an in-state option, there are still two of them. Blue-blood powerhouse programs? Four of them.

Williamson isn't giving out any hints, either.

With less than 48 hours until his commitment, what's the latest?

Why is Zion Williamson so popular?

Williamson isn't your normal 17-year-old athlete.

He has 1.1 million Instagram followers, and he's closing in on 100,000 Twitter followers. Drake wore his jersey in an Instagram post.


Why Zion Williamson is such a big deal

A viral-video sensation, Zion Williamson has been exciting gyms across the country his entire high school career.

And Williamson is perhaps the most famous amateur dunker of his generation.

One search on YouTube generates dozens and dozens of clips and compilations of his dunks, and it's not unusual to see lines to his games extending all the way outside.

"It's fun and it can be not-so-fun at the same time," he said of the attention. "It's fun because, going all over the world. I was in Italy and people were asking me for pictures, 'Are you Zion? I don't believe you're in Italy right now. This is crazy.' I tell [people] my name, and they go 'Oh my god, it's really you.' That part's fun. People knowing who I am.

"The part that's not so fun, I'm a social person. When I'm trying to hang out with my friends -- I can't thank my friends enough, they've sacrificed hours, taking pictures for other people."

OK, outside of the dunks, how good is Williamson?

Williamson is ranked No. 2 in the ESPN 100 for the 2018 class, sitting behind R.J. Barrett. While his dunking ability and jaw-dropping athleticism are his best attributes, he's more than that. The 6-foot-6, 275-pound power forward is built like a tight end -- but he combines that strength and physicality with quick feet and adept passing ability. Williamson is still at his best in transition, though, and will need to get in better shape and improve his shooting ability to dominate at the next level.

"It started off with the dunking, but then when people saw my stats, they were like, 'Oh he's averaging 30-plus points and 15-plus rebounds, he has to be somewhat decent,'" Williamson said. "You can't get ranked top five for dunking. You have to bring something to the table."

Williamson has missed most of his high school season because of an injury but returned last Thursday to score 31 points in his first game back. He followed that up with 36 points and six rebounds in a nationally televised game against Chino Hills High School (California) on ESPN this past weekend.

Which schools are still involved in his recruitment?

Williamson has been relatively quiet about his recruitment the past few months but told ESPN last week that he was down to three or four schools. He confirmed that in-state options Clemson and South Carolina are under consideration, and Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina and Kansas have all been heavily involved throughout his recruitment. It's unclear which of those four are still in the mix, although Kentucky is thought to be one of them.

"I don't like when people try to force a list on me, because I didn't put out a list," Williamson said in a recent interview with ESPN. "Unless you heard it from me, it's not true."

Kentucky, South Carolina and North Carolina were all in to see him in the past two weeks, and South Carolina sent an assistant coach to the Hoophall Classic this past weekend to watch him.

As of last weekend, Williamson said he hadn't made up his mind yet.

Does Clemson or South Carolina have a legitimate shot?

Williamson is a South Carolina kid through and through. He never left Spartanburg Day High School, and he played for a South Carolina-based AAU team. His stepfather, Lee Anderson, played at Clemson. The two in-state schools are not on the list just for show, despite the blue bloods accompanying them.

"South Carolina is my home," Williamson said. "South Carolina is not really known for basketball, and I don't really like that. I feel like we can be known for football and basketball.

"I'm still considering both in-state schools. If I don't decide to stay in-state, it's nothing against South Carolina or Clemson."

There's also the added element of continuing to be "the guy" at either of those schools. He has been the clear main man for both his high school and AAU teams, and that wouldn't change at Clemson or South Carolina. Clemson starting 14-2 and South Carolina making a Final Four run and then getting Brian Bowen recently don't hurt, either.

Which school is the favorite?

Most of the latest discussion surrounding Williamson centers on Clemson, although Kansas, Kentucky and Duke have all been considered the favorite at different points in the past year. Clemson offers Williamson the chance to stay home for school, and it will also enable him to take a different path and be the clear go-to guy for his lone season in college.

Despite the buzz, Williamson claims there is no leader -- and there has never been one.

"I don't really like it because then some coaches think I'm favoring that school and that they don't have a chance," he said. "When in reality, all I did was just visit the school to see what it's like. And the media just blows it up to, 'Oh, that's his new favorite school.'"

We'll find out on Saturday if the rumors are true and he stays home to don the purple and orange.