Zion Williamson is one of, if not the, largest and strongest player in college basketball.
While certainly not the tallest, Williamson at 6’7, 290 pounds (at least his preseason list weight, he’s probably lighter now) of mostly muscle is a freight train. The current consensus No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft is not someone you’d ever want to take contact from, but especially when he has a full head of steam.
Marek Dolezaj learned that lesson the hard way when he made the poor life decision, but technically correct basketball decision, to take a charge from Williamson on a fast break. Dolezaj, who is listed at 6’10, 180, stepped in front of Zion and took the full brunt of Williamson’s shoulder, getting lifted off the ground and slamming to the floor.
He gets, quite literally, lifted off the ground from the contact with Zion, who was none the worse for wear, and spent some time collecting himself and trying to remember how to breathe on the floor after getting his chest ran through.
The good news for Dolezaj is he got the charge call, which helped Syracuse in a tight game, but one has to wonder at what cost. I mean, just look at this sequence of still images, where if you look closely enough you can see his soul briefly leave his body.
Taking charges is, I guess, admirable given the pain coming your way, but this will likely serve as a warning for players in the future facing the choice of taking one for the team against Williamson or making a business decision to step out of the way of the mack truck headed their way.