Zion Williamson getting into NBA draft after 1 yr at Duke

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DURHAM, N.C. — Zion Williamson is leaving Duke after one high-flying season to enter the NBA draft.

Broadly projected as the highest total choose within the June draft, the AP nationwide participant of the yr introduced his choice Monday.

The 6-foot-7, 285-pound Williamson captivated all of school basketball along with his freakish, once-in-a-generation athleticism, his power at each ends of the ground and his omnipresent charisma.

The Atlantic Coast Convention participant and rookie of the yr averaged 22.6 factors — tied for the league lead with teammate RJ Barrett — and eight.9 rebounds. Alongside the way in which, he grew to become the face of school basketball this season, routinely developing with not less than one highlight-reel play or show-stopping dunk per recreation.

His choice to show professional got here as no shock. The truth is, he spent the season greeting NBA chatter with a playful wink and a understanding nod.

He mentioned it will be “dope” to play on a hypothetical New York Knicks group with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Upon studying that LeBron James and Stephen Curry had been speaking about him throughout All-Star weekend, he responded that he’s “hoping to be there competing in opposition to them subsequent yr.”

Throughout his lone faculty season, he helped the Blue Devils earn the No. 1 rating within the remaining AP Prime 25 and the highest total seed within the NCAA Match. Duke was knocked out by Michigan State within the East Regional remaining.

Now that he’s headed to the NBA, one key subplot to observe is which sneaker firm will land his endorsement.

In one of many signature moments of the season, Williamson blew out his left Nike shoe — the PG 2.5, the signature shoe of Oklahoma Metropolis star Paul George — and sprained his proper knee within the opening minute of what grew to become a lopsided residence loss to rival North Carolina.

The affect was instant — Nike’s inventory value took successful the subsequent day, and the shoe firm despatched a group of representatives to campus to research. When Williamson returned roughly three weeks later for the ACC Match, he wore a pair of modified size-15 Nikes from the signature line of Irving, a Boston Celtics All-Star and former one-and-done participant at Duke.

Williamson joins Cam Reddish and Barrett as classmates headed to the professionals after one season. Level guard Tre Jones says he’ll return to highschool for his sophomore yr.

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Extra AP faculty basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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