Without Zion Williamson, Duke University fell to Virginia Tech on Tuesday 72-77. While the margin was not too large, it was clear that the Blue Devils were missing their star player.
Williamson sprained his knee when his foot burst through his sneaker during a game against UNC. Without him on the floor, Duke’s chances are falling fast and they’re no longer the top-ranked team in the NCAA, overtaken by Gonzaga and Virginia in the most recent AP polls.
They still have a strong pair of players in R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish, keeping them competitive but not dominant.
According to coach Mike Krzyzewski, he has had no conversations with Williamson and his family regarding the possibility of shutting him down. On Williamson’s end, there is some merit to considering skipping the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. He’s already locked in as the hands-down consensus number one overall NBA draft pick and playing through a sprained knee for a chance at an NCAA title could be risking his professional career should he aggravate the injury. He’s an unparalleled physical specimen who has the speed, power
Duke has a chance at a revenge game against UNC on March 9 and Williamson is still questionable to return. Another win over Duke will boost UNC’s seeding chances heading into March Madness. From Duke’s perspective, of course, a return by Zion would be ideal as he’s a huge swing factor when it comes to their chances of adding more hardware to their already stacked trophy case.
Either way, Zion Williamson has a big decision ahead. Whether he does indeed sit out the tournament, it will impact his future pro career and his basketball legacy.