KU recruiting target Williamson ‘ridiculously good’ at USA Basketball camp

Zion Williamson, the No. 2 recruit on Rivals.com, impressed with his play at the Basketball’s Junior National Team minicamp over the weekend. Williamson, who has already visited Kansas, will also make trips to Kentucky, Duke and UCLA in the coming weeks before choosing a college. | Gregory Payan | The Associated Press

By Gary Bedore gbedore@kcstar.com

Zion Williamson lived up to his billing as the No. 2-rated player in the recruiting class of 2018 at USA Basketball’s Junior National Team minicamp Saturday and Sunday in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Williamson, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound senior forward from Spartanburg (S.C.) Day School, who has a college list of Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, UCLA, Clemson and South Carolina, “was ridiculously good” at Sunday morning’s camp session, Rivals.com’s Eric Bossi reported.

“He handled the ball, made some slick passes and of course played way above the rim. He loves contact and is proving to be a pretty fierce competitor. Then there are sequences like one where he recovered to volleyball-spike a layup attempt off the backboard, come down with the ball and then go coast to coast through traffic for a huge two-handed dunk. It was right out of young Charles Barkley’s playbook,” Bossi added.

Williamson attended KU’s Late Night in the Phog on Sept. 30, and he will travel to Kentucky next weekend for the Wildcats’ Big Blue Madness. Williamson also has scheduled visits to Duke (Oct. 20-22) and UCLA (Oct. 27-29). He said he may yet head to Clemson or South Carolina on a fifth official visit.

Asked about KU coach Bill Self’s message to Williamson in recruiting, Williamson told Rivals.com: “They have two bigs committed so far (Silvio De Sousa, David McCormack), so if I was to commit there I’d play a 1 through 3, kind of like a Josh Jackson type, just playing everywhere.”

Of his visit to KU, he told Rivals.com: “It was everything I thought it was going to be and more. The fans there showed a lot of love.”

Williamson said he figures to make a decision on a school in “late November, early December but if it doesn’t feel right then probably longer.”

ESPN.com and Rivals.com have Williamson ranked one spot behind No. 1 R.J. Barrett, a 6-7 senior wing from Montverde Academy in Florida, originally from Ontario, Canada. He has a final three of Duke Oregon and Kentucky.

Langford impressive

No. 6-ranked Romeo Langford, a 6-4 senior shooting guard from New Albany (Ind.) High School, who has a list of KU, Indiana, North Carolina, UCLA and Vanderbilt, has also impressed at USA minicamp.

“I think Langford has gotten better each session. He has been driving to the rim, his shot is starting to fall and what I love about him that never really gets discussed is that he is potentially elite as a wing defender because of his length and lateral quickness,” Rivals.com’s Bossi wrote Sunday.

Bossi noted that Langford “appears to have strong on and off the floor chemistry” with Darius Garland and Quentin Grimes. Garland and Langford both have Indiana, UCLA and Vandy on their lists; Grimes and Langford have just one finalist in common: KU.

Embiid won’t play Monday

Former KU center Joel Embiid practiced fully on Sunday but will miss his third game of the preseason for the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday as he continues his comeback from left knee surgery. Embiid, who had surgery on March 24, will be held out of Philly’s exhibition game against the Boston Celtics, Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported Sunday.

The Sixers will play Wednesday versus New Jersey and meet the Miami Heat on Friday at the Sprint Center.

“I would like to play preseason because last year it helped me get in a groove and to get back to the dominant player that I want to be,” Embiid told Philly.com last week.

Embiid missed his first two seasons in the NBA because of a pair of surgeries to repair the navicular bone in his right foot. He had a stress fracture that prevented him from playing in the postseason in his lone season at KU in 2013-14. He played in 31 games last season and averaged 20.2 points per game and 7.8 rebounds a game.

Gary Bedore: 816-234-4068, @garybedore


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