Oh Zion Williamson you are truly a special transcendent talent. The projected number 1 overall this upcoming loaded draft class is a box office sensation who’s hype has been compared to Lebron James. Going into the hyped matchup against rivals North Carolina where tickets were being sold at 2,000 dollars everyone wanted to see Zion. Then everything came crashing down when his shoe exploded 36 seconds into the game and Zion was down on the ground hurt. The end result Duke got blown out at home to their rivals without their best player. Zion was diagnosed with a grade 1 right knee sprain, a day- to-day injury. Despite it being a minor injury the talk around college basketball is for all his potential and hype should Zion shut it down and prepare for the NBA draft?
There are pros and cons to each side with experts and fans being spilt on the matter . In my opinion I believe Zion once he’s healthy enough to return should come back to play for Duke. Zion is a competitor and has always said himself how he always wanted to enjoy the college basketball experience and go win a national championship for Duke. It truly is a once and a lifetime experience to play college basketball experience the crowd and the brotherhood of your teammates. You practically live with them almost the entire year/ After all the hard work that has been put in the spring, summer and throughout the season to quit now unheard of. I understand the financial risk that comes with it potentially losing millions of dollars if a major injury occurs.
My response to that is injuries can also happen in NBA pre-draft workouts so sitting out rest of the season does not take away the risk of getting hurt. Basketball players play basketball because they want to win, be successful and help make memories for not only them but their teammates. Zion himself said even if he was allowed to go play in the NBA skip college he still go play for Duke. There are reasons for this one to learn under one of the greatest coaches of all time in Mike Krzyzewski, two to become a Duke legend and three to just simply play basketball and finally three enjoy the experience like I just mentioned above. There are probably plenty of more reasons that Zion wanted to go to college that I cannot name.
There has not been one first round prospect who had a minor injury that decided to sit out the season with an injury. Last year Michael Porter came back for the NCAA Tournament Kyrie Irving did the same when he was in college. Yes I understand these players will not be worth 100 million plus as a rookie like Zion will once he signs with a team and takes endorsements. However Players if they are healthy simply will play for their universities. Money will come later but the experience of college basketball is their top priority. Zion loves Duke , when he was first recruited there Zion talked about how Duke stood out because of the brotherhood. Since his time at Duke is running out Zion is cherishing every moment he has with his teammates and friends. Duke has not won a national championship since 2015 Zion would more than love for his last game at Duke to be going out as a champion. Not many college players get to say they are national champions that is what so special about March Madness emotions and adrenaline run high. Competitors do not quit on their teammates and coaches and Zion is the definition of a competitor. Any coach would love to have the chance to coach him he truly is something special. Of course there is always a risk when you step on the hardwood that you can get seriously hurt. However that is not on Zion mind and despite those who say Zion should not risk himself playing for free. Zion made his decision quickly to finish the season playing with Duke and to go out and accomplish his goals with his team. I truly believe you’re making the right choice Zion the NBA can wait. – Ashkan Motamedi