Kansas target Zion Williamson to attend Kentucky’s “Big Blue Madness”

By Gary Bedore gbedore@kcstar.com

Two weeks after attending Kansas’ Late Night in the Phog, elite recruit Zion Williamson will check out Kentucky’s signature preseason event known as “Big Blue Madness.”

Williamson, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound senior small forward from Spartanburg (S.C.) Day School, told reporters on Saturday at the USA Basketball Junior National Team minicamp in Colorado Springs, Colo., that he will make an official recruiting visit to Lexington, Ky., on Oct. 13-15.

The country’s No. 2-rated prospect according to Rivals.com will be joined on the recruiting trip by former Bishop Miege and current Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei center Bol Bol, who told reporters at minicamp that he has a final two of Kentucky and Oregon.

Williamson — who heard chants of “We Want Zion,” from KU’s students at KU’s Late Night — previously canceled a visit to Kentucky the weekend of Sept. 22 because of a death in his family. He also has scheduled visits to Duke (Oct. 20-22) and UCLA (Oct. 27-29). Clemson and South Carolina are also in the running for Williamson.

ESPN on Friday examined the recruitment of some top players headed to the minicamp and made predictions on their ultimate choices.

For instance, ESPN.com’s Jeff Borzello predicted Williamson would choose Kentucky.

“Williamson visited Kansas last weekend, as the Jayhawks looked to regain some of the momentum they lost since the end of July. But Kentucky remains the leader at this point, with Clemson hoping to make up ground with a pitch to keep him home in South Carolina,” Borzello wrote Friday. Duke is not out of it yet, either, and the Blue Devils will host Williamson in two weeks. UCLA is also still involved.”

Borzello predicts KU will land No. 6-ranked Romeo Langford, a 6-4 senior from New Albany (Ind.) High, who will visit KU on Oct. 27-29.

“Langford made some waves last week, when he cut Louisville — the prohibitive favorite for much of his recruitment — shortly after the Cardinals placed head coach Rick Pitino on unpaid leave in the wake of an FBI investigation. He then took an official visit to UCLA last weekend,” Borzello wrote. “Langford has been to Vanderbilt already as well. Starting next weekend, he will go to North Carolina, Kansas and Indiana. The Tar Heels are in a stronger position than has been discussed in recent weeks, but Kansas and Indiana are in a battle right now.”

Borzello also has KU landing Quentin Grimes, a 6-5 senior shooting guard from College Park High in The Woodlands, Texas, who is ranked No. 11 nationally by Rivals.com.

“Grimes took his second official visit last weekend to Kentucky, and the Wildcats remain squarely in the mix despite getting a commitment from Quickley (Immanuel, point guard) recently. Don’t count them out. With that said, Kansas and Texas are perceived to be the top two in this one. Texas is hoping to keep him in-state. Grimes will visit Kansas and dark horse Marquette the next two weekends,” Borzello wrote.

Cade Cunningham nets KU offer

KU has offered a scholarship to Cade Cunningham, a 6-5 sophomore shooting guard from Bowie High School in Arlington, Texas, 247sports.com has reported. Cunningham is ranked No. 20 in the recruiting Class of 2020 according to Rivals.com. He’s the brother of former SMU player Cannen Cunningham. He’s also considering Oklahoma State, Houston, USC, Arkansas, Kansas State, Texas A&M and others.

“Cade is a versatile forward that can play either the 3 or the 4. He is a natural wing that has a distinct ability to score,” reads Cunningham’s scouting report at ESPN.com. “His toughness and athletic ability allow him to play some power forward also when needed. As his skills continue to improve, a move to shooting guard is not beyond the realm of possibility.

“He gives effort defensively but can run into issues with elite athletes or wings with great size. His tenacity and competitiveness aid him in his efforts right now but if he doesn’t continue to grow it could become a bigger issue moving forward. He has a high ceiling and should continue to be counted among the elite in his class given average progression.”

Gary Bedore: 816-234-4068, @garybedore

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