Duke star Zion Williamson explains why he’s returning instead of shutting it down
Heading into a marquee matchup with North Carolina on Feb. 20, Zion Williamson had firmly established himself as the best and most popular player in all of college basketball.
Williamson was averaging 21.6 points and 8.8 rebounds with an unheard-of 42.3 PER, electrifying crowds and audiences with an array of high-flying antics and surprisingly good body control for someone with his size and stature.
His ridiculous combination of strength, athleticism and ability had already made him the overwhelming favorite to be the No. 1 pick in this summer’s NBA Draft. And then … the country held its collective breath.
On one of the first plays of the game against UNC, Williamson pivoted and tore through his shoe, suffering a mild knee sprain in the process.
Suddenly, the debate was not when Zion would return to game action, but if he should even return at all. As the presumptive top overall pick, fans and pundits wondered if the risk of playing and re-injuring the knee would be worth potentially sacrificing millions.
But for Zion Williamson, not playing was never part of the conversation:
“For the people that think I should just stop playing in college: thanks, but no thanks.”
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 14, 2019
Zion Williamson will make his return in Duke’s first game of the ACC Tournament against Syracuse after sitting out five games due to the knee injury.
He has never embraced any of the speculation or talk regarding his future, and even mentioned refusing to dwell on expectations because of unnecessary added pressure.
Williamson’s love and passion for the game are evident from the video clip, and he says that he came to Duke to win a national championship. For an 18-year-old, he has shown a high level of maturity and grace in handling the attention and scrutiny that he has received all season long.