Zion Williamson will play college basketball at Duke, committing to the Blue Devils on Saturday, ending his high-profile recruitment.
But not everyone in Williamson’s family believes he will play college basketball at the best place for him.
Lee Anderson, Williamson’s stepfather, said after Saturday’s announcement that he believes another school would have been a better fit for his stepson.
“At first, I thought Clemson was the ideal place for Zion. At first, that’s what I thought. I still believe that, I really believe that,” said Anderson, who played at Clemson. “But it wasn’t me making that decision. When Zion walks on that campus and goes to sleep on that campus and wakes up on that campus and realizes, ‘Hey, I’m here, this is for real,’ I want to make sure that’s his decision. He has to live that life.”
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Williamson was believed to be leaning towards Clemson for some time.
Most national pundits expected the high-flying dunker to choose the Tigers, and Anderson confirmed that Clemson led for much of the process. Anderson relayed a conversation he had with the Tigers’ coaching staff leading up to Williamson’s announcement.
“You all had a mile-and-a-half lead on the situation. I don’t know what happened along the way,” he told reporters.
But ultimately, Williamson followed his heart.
“We could have easily persuaded him, but I’m not into persuasion. I want him to feel good about his decision,” Anderson said.
Williamson’s commitment gives Duke the top three rated players for the class of 2018 and adds to the list of top players from South Carolina to go out of state.
Six of the past seven years, the No. 1 player in South Carolina has gone out of state to play college basketball. The only player to stay, PJ Dozier, helped South Carolina to the Final Four this past season.
Williamson joins Seventh Woods, Brice Johnson, Jalek Felton and others who have spurned in-state schools to play college basketball elsewhere.
“I had a pretty good relationship with Clemson simply because I played there, and I thought it would have been good for Zion to go to Tiger Town, especially with that football team doing what they’re doing, and there’s nothing like getting on that hill on a Saturday afternoon, watching football and then basketball has the same kind of fever,” Anderson said.
“I told Zion, that would have been great, that would have been great. But he made his decision, and we’re going to live with that… We’re not running from anybody. We were straight up with everybody and we told them what was what from Day One, and the final decision would be Zion’s decision.”