Durham County

Zion Williamson has a million followers watching, waiting on his college choice

North Carolina recruiting target Zion Williamson, left, sits beside former Tar Heels great Phil Ford prior to the Tar Heels’ exhibition game against Barton College on Friday, October 27, 2017 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.
North Carolina recruiting target Zion Williamson, left, sits beside former Tar Heels great Phil Ford prior to the Tar Heels’ exhibition game against Barton College on Friday, October 27, 2017 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. rwillett@newsobserver.com

High school hoops star Zion Williamson is hot. How hot? How about a million followers hot.

Williamson, who is a recruiting target of both Duke and North Carolina, recently surpassed a mega-milestone for followers on Instagram. Williamson’s so popular that USA Today did a story about his reach on the social media image-sharing platform.

On Tuesday, North Carolina coach Roy Williams went to Spartanburg to make his latest pitch for Williamson to join the Tar Heels. He’s already made that trip once before in the last month. Williamson has been to Chapel Hill four times.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has praised Williamson for cultivating his brand.

Both the Blue Devils and Tar Heels are trying to put the finishing touches on their already star-studded recruiting classes and adding Williamson would certainly be a crown jewel. Williamson is ranked No. 2 overall in the ESPN 100.

“It’s hard to say how it feels,” Williamson told USA Today. “It’s hard to believe, but it’s exciting at the same time. My friend said a million different people clicked that follow button because they want to follow what’s going on in my life. When I thought about it like that it was even crazier.”

Williamson has benefited from numerous highlight videos showing his rim-rocking dunks and vicious blocks. These posts have racked up millions of views.

His amazing total ranks him only No. 2 on Instagram, though. He trails LaMelo Ball, a junior who is ranked No. 7 overall in the ESPN 60. Ball has more than 2.9 million followers.

Williamson also is considering Clemson, Kansas, Kentucky and South Carolina. Wednesday is the last day of the NCAA’s Fall Signing Period. Williamson has not yet tipped his hand on where he may land next year.

Joe Johnson: 919-419-6678, @JEJ_HSNews

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