Duke basketball phenom Zion Williamson is arguably the most coveted NBA prospect since LeBron James. His high school mixtapes, particularly his defiance of the universe’s natural laws of physics, were already the stuff of legend even before he started his one-and-done season at Duke.
But after injuring his knee in a freak shoe explosion last month against rival UNC, some basketball pundits sounded the alarms and called for Williamson to close the chapter on his lone season in the collegiate ranks in order to avoid any further injuries that might undermine his NBA career.
Williamson, however, put the kibosh on that idea and has been as dominant as ever for the Blue Devils since returning in the ACC Tournament, as they head into the NCAA Tournament this week. The 6’8 forward recently explained why he opted to return for March Madness and even went so far as to say he would’ve attended Duke even if the NBA didn’t have a minimum age requirement.
Via Pat Forde and Pete Thamel Yahoo Sports:
“Why would I pass up in this experience to play in the biggest rivalry ever?” Williamson said after Duke beat North Carolina in the ACC tourney semifinals. “You [can’t create] moments like that nowhere else. I mean, just goes without saying. If they still had the high school rule, I’d have still come to college.”
Duke and Zion enter the NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed when they face off again North Dakota St. on Friday. Since his return, he’s been sporting a custom pair of sneakers that the Nike wizards designed specially for him after the potentially devastating incident with the previous pair.
But regardless of how he and Duke fare in this year’s tournament, it’s safe to say he’ll take his experience as part of one of basketball’s most historic rivalries to the NBA Draft this summer and put college hoops firmly in his rear-view mirror.