Duke news: Zion Williamson on people who didn't think he'd return: 'They weren't smart'
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Duke’s Zion Williamson on people who didn’t think he’d return: ‘They weren’t smart’

Zion Williamson, Duke

Zion Williamson proved his critics wrong upon returning to action for Thursday’s ACC Tournament opener against the Syracuse Orange. The Duke forward had the best line of his career and proved he had much more to show the college game upon returning from a five-game absence after a freak knee injury.

“It was great,” said Williamson of his first game back since suffering the injury against North Carolina. “I love this game, I love my teammates, sot the people who through I wasn’t going to return, they weren’t smart. I love playing with Duke. I love my teammates and it was great to be back.”

It didn’t take long after his injury for the freshman to announce he planned to return to action, conveyed by the words of his head coach Mike Krzyzewski in his media availability.

While many thought Williamson had shown the game enough to make him the top overall selection in the upcoming NBA Draft, the 6-foot-7 wrecking ball took it one step further, pouring in 29 points with 14 rebounds, two assists, five steals and a blocked shot — capping a perfect 13-of-13 performance from the field in an 84-72 win over Syracuse.

When it came time to respond to those who thought he should sit out, Williamson took the noble road.

“They are entitled to their own opinion,” said Williamson. “I appreciate the input, but I couldn’t leave my boys hanging.”

The Blue Devil said his knee feels “incredible” after sitting out for three weeks, now bound for a rematch against North Carolina after the Tar Heels took both regular season games without the highly-touted freshman in action.