SPARTANBURG Playing in front of a sold-out, homecoming crowd, Zion Williamson did his best to impress the fans, including former NBA All-Star Baron Davis.
Davis, who spent 13 seasons in the NBA, was on-hand calling the game for Gatorade, which is sponsoring the online broadcast for some of the top players in the country. It was the first time he watched Williamson in person, and he came away impressed.
Williamson finished with 34 points, nine rebounds and several outstanding assists in the 80-59 victory against Shannon Forest.
“He is a super talented player, can pass, had a nice touch, and I love the way he uses his teammates and makes them better,” Davis said. “He plays for the crowd, plays for his teammates and plays to win, so I think he is going to be good.”
Davis said Williamson reminded him a little of Jamal Mashburn, who played with Davis for the Charlotte Hornets, but added that he will have to be his own player and define himself.
One of Williamson’s defining moments comes Saturday when he announces his college choice before a national audience on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. following the South Carolina-Tennessee broadcast. The McDonald’s All-American has done a good job not tipping his hand on what school he will pick.
Williamson sprinted off the court after singing the school’s alma mater after the game and didn’t speak to reporters. But he will talk plenty following Saturday’s announcement.
Spartanburg Day coach Lee Sartor called Saturday’s announcement one of the biggest days in the private school’s history and they are expecting a large crowd of people to be there for it.
“It is going to be a special moment,” Sartor said. “I think it is going be great for one of these schools to get Zion. I’m looking forward to it, and I think everyone is looking forward to see where he is going to go to school.”
Schools made their final pitches to Williamson this week. According to Sartor, Kentucky spoke to Williamson on Sunday while Duke came in Tuesday. Clemson, South Carolina and North Carolina all were there Thursday to talk with him. Most experts believe he will stay in-state and play close to home at Clemson.
“Zion said this is the hardest decision he has ever had to make, and he is probably right,” Sartor said. “There is really no wrong decision, because all the colleges he is considering are great schools and have great coaching staffs.
“I think it is going to come down to the fit and what feels right for him.”