After Duke basketball star Zion Williamson went down with a knee injury against UNC earlier this year a familiar question was starting to be asked. Should Zion sit out the rest of the season to protect his draft stock and avoid further injury?
This is becoming prevalent in college sports as athletes are realizing it is really in their best interest to sit out to prevent hurting their draft stock. It is common to see football players sit out their bowl games and players are now hesitant to return from injuries. After his injury, just about everyone was saying Zion should sit out. We even posted an article on this site arguing that point. Luckily for college basketball fans, he didn’t listen.
Zion decided to return for the start of the ACC tournament and he quickly reminded us why he was one of the most highly touted basketball recruits of all time. The man is the definition of a beast and after his stellar performance in the tournament, I am willing to declare him the best player of the one and done era.
Now I understand that is a hell of a take, but is it really? He averaged 27 points and 10 rebounds during the ACC tournament joining Kevin Durant as the only freshmen to average 25 and 10 in a conference tourney in 20 years. Don’t forget that he did this against Syracuse, UNC, and Florida State. Those are three great basketball teams that will all be participating in March Madness.
However, what really separates Zion from all the other stars of this era is the fact that he has 100% lived up to the hype. We’ve seen highly touted prospects like Andrew Wiggins and Ben Simmons, who were anointed the next big superstar. While both of them had successful college seasons and are enjoying solid NBA careers (one clearly better than the other), neither have lived up to the hype quite like Zion has.
When people say that he could be the next Lebron or MJ, you have to take these claims seriously. He has already garnered that kind of respect in the college basketball world in his short time at Duke.
Physically, Williamson is the closest thing to LeBron James we have seen in recent memory. His massive frame and unreal leaping ability make him one of the most mesmerizing players I have ever seen. Never have I seen a guy who can block people at the three point line so effortlessly. His three point percentage of 31.5% could use some work, but he has all the time in the world to perfect it. Keep in mind, many players struggle with their shot early in their careers.
As basketball fans, we should be happy Zion has decided to return from his injury. He’s the best player in college basketball and we should want to see him in March Madness, even if that means we have to suffer through another Duke title.
You can say what you want about whether or not he should be playing, but you have to respect his commitment. He very easily could have packed it in and started looking towards his NBA future, but he has too much pride and respect for his teammates to do that. Zion wants to close out his lone season as a champion and that mindset will take him a long way in the tournament, and the rest of his career.