Duke’s basketball season finally came to an end last weekend with a tough 68-67 loss to Michigan St. in the Elite Eight, thus ending the spectacular one-and-done college career of Zion Williamson, who’ll likely be the No. 1 pick in this summer’s NBA Draft.
Williamson was dominant in that game (24 points, 14 rebounds), just as he was all season long for Duke, which has already culminated in an AP All-American First Team selection alongside Blue Devil teammate R.J. Barrett.
Now, Williamson can add the grand prize to that, i.e. the AP Player of the Year Award, which was little more than a foregone conclusion when it was announced on Friday.
Via The Associated Press:
Williamson claimed 59 of 64 votes from AP Top 25 voters before the NCAA Tournament in results released Friday. Freshman teammate RJ Barrett earned two votes as a fellow AP first-team All-American, while Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter, Michigan State’s Cassius Winston and Murray State’s Ja Morant each earned one vote.
Williamson averaged 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds in his lone college season, but those numbers hardly do justice to the otherworldly athletic feats he put on display on a nightly basis.
He takes home the award despite missing six games of the season after one of his Nike shoes disintegrated during a game against rival North Carolina. Williamson is still expected to sign a lucrative deal with the sneaker giant, and that hiccup didn’t prevent him from returning full-strength and leading Duke to a deep tournament run.
The only question remaining is which NBA team will win the lottery and thus the rights to select with the top overall pick this summer. Between now and then, let’s just hope he doesn’t spend too much time tearing down rims in pickup games.