Update: This story has been updated to reflect that Zion Williamson is now not expected to make his official visit to UK this weekend.
Immanuel Quickley’s commitment to Kentucky on Friday night should only help Kentucky’s chances with another five-star basketball recruit: Zion Williamson.
Williamson, a 6-foot-6 small forward from Spartanburg, S.C., was supposed to be on UK’s campus for the start of his official visit around the time that Quickley committed, but — as Kentucky Sports Radio’s Matt Jones first reported — Williamson was unable to make the trip.
He is expected to reschedule.
Despite the change in plans, John Calipari now has something more for his recruiting pitch to Williamson, the No. 2 overall player in the class of 2018.
Quickley and Williamson — friends and competitors on the Adidas circuit and regular roommates at international events this summer — haven’t been shy about their wish to play basketball together at the next level.
Quickley first mentioned the possibility to the Herald-Leader at USA Basketball training camp in Colorado Springs, and the two players talked more in depth about the “package deal” at an Adidas event in Williamson’s hometown of Spartanburg a few weeks later.
“There’s a lot of truth to that,” Williamson said at the time. “Me and Immanuel are good friends. … I just love the way he plays point guard. That’s the type of point guard I want to play with.”
Quickley has confirmed that the two players have continued to talk about teaming up, and those discussions should only intensify now that he has publicly committed to the Cats.
On Saturday morning, Quickley tweeted an image of himself in a UK uniform and tagged Williamson in the post.
Quickley told the Herald-Leader at that Adidas event in July that he planned to openly recruit on behalf of whatever school he picked, as soon as the commitment was announced. Quickley has also made it clear that Williamson — a dynamic offensive talent already made famous by his highlight-reel plays — would be his top priority.
“I complement him, and he complements me,” Quickley said then. “I think it would help us if we went to the same school.”
Williamson’s planned official visit to Kentucky this weekend would have been the first of his recruitment, and he’s also scheduled trips to Duke, Kansas and UCLA for later in the fall. North Carolina is expected to get his fifth and final official visit, and home-state schools Clemson and South Carolina remain in the mix, too.
The Herald-Leader asked five national analysts to handicap Williamson’s recruitment earlier this week, and that panel came up with UK as the favorite to ultimately land his commitment.