This time, sneakers weren’t Zion Williamson’s problem, at least.

Williamson made his much-anticipated return to the court for Duke on Thursday against Syracuse, but the projected No. 1 NBA draft pick still couldn’t get free of some drama not of his own making.

Syracuse guard Frank Howard appeared to try to intentionally trip Williamson, although the Blue Devils freshman was able to stay on his feet and dodge another injury. In video of the incident, Howard could be seen sticking out his foot in what appears to be an attempt to trip Williamson on his way back down the court.

ESPN analyst Jay Williams ripped into Howard during the halftime show.

“There is no place in the game for stuff like this,” Williams said. “I said the same thing when the Grayson Allen stuff happened a couple years ago. The same thing just happened there with Frank Howard. There’s no place in the game for that. It’s uncalled for. That’s a play where I feel like players need to be ejected.”

Don’t be fooled, though. Williams actually liked when fellow Duke alum Allen was caught tripping multiple people in 2017, noting then that it’s OK to “be a villain.”

Different when an opposing player is tripping your star athletes, isn’t it?

Anyway, Howard denied the allegations, per SI.com, telling reporters he has a lot of respect for Williamson.

Whatever the intent, it didn’t impact Williamson’s play, as he notched 29 points, 14 rebounds and five steals in Duke’s 84-72 win.

There’s no better basketball betting online than BetPhoenix.ag.

Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images