With his eventual college decision just months away (at the most), Zion Williamson is already one of the most famous American basketball players not in the NBA. The high school senior became the first scholastic star to surpass 1 million followers on Instagram and his every dramatic dunk tends to find its way to ESPN’s SportsCenter. He’s a human highlight reel turned high school personality, which is why every trip he takes to a college basketball game is a big deal.
Williamson was supposed to be on one of those trips on Sunday to watch the South Carolina Gamecocks host an exhibition game. After all, his mother told the Columbia State that Williamson was taking an unofficial visit to USC over the weekend, so why wouldn’t he be there?
Instead of Williamson setting himself up for fan serenades throughout an otherwise boring exhibition he actually wasn’t in attendance. Unfortunately for the crowd another recruit was: 6-foot-9 D.J. Burns, a four-star center recruit from Rock Hill, S.C. who looks just enough like Zion Williamson to cause a fair bit of confusion among the masses.
For reference, here’s a picture of Burns at the game:
And here’s a shot of Zion Williamson (on the right):
Close, but no cigar.
The resulting mistaken identity was incredibly unfortunate for everyone involved. As you can hear below, the crowd assumed Burns was Williamson and began chanting “We want Zion!” as a college basketball crowd is wont to do. Burns clearly figured out that the crowd thought he was Williamson and appeared a bit non-plussed about the whole thing.
And Zion? He had a crowd going crazy for him even though he was nowhere near the arena.
Whether this entire episode leads to a South Carolina commitment from Williamson, Burns or anyone else remains to be seen. Perhaps the most unfortunate thing is that the entire miscommunication could have been avoided if the Gamecocks fans had paid a bit closer attention to a logo: Burns’ top featured Nike’s EYBL logo, which Burns earned while playing with the Georgia Stars on the EYBL circuit this summer. Williamson is notably an Adidas Uprising participant with SC Supreme, so he wouldn’t have had access to (or wanted) to sport an EYBL top.
The lesson, as always: Know you logos, folks. It can help avoid a whole lot of awkwardness and a recruiting snafu.