Duke basketball star Zion Williamson has one thing to say to those suggesting he quit college hoops: “Thanks, but no thanks.”
It was just 36 seconds into a rivalry game between Duke and North Carolina on Feb. 20 when Williamson’s shoe split apart at the seams, causing the star forward to take a tumble. He later was diagnosed with a Grade 1 knee sprain and sat out the next several contests due to the injury.
News of the injury led many to question whether Williamson should return to college basketball so as to protect his future NBA career. The Blue Devils star addressed calls for him to leave college basketball in a video posted by the NCAA March Madness page on Twitter ahead of his return to the court Thursday.
“I’m not really worried about that. Like, I’m just trying to be Zion and just play the game I love,” he said.
A number of major sports figures voiced their concerns for Williamson’s future shortly after his injury. FOX Sports 1 talking head Skip Bayless, for instance, suggested he “shut it down” and wait for the upcoming NBA draft.
Denver Nuggets point guard Isaiah Thomas took to Twitter to address the incident. Thomas suggested Williamson sit and wait for the draft, as well. Thomas also criticized the “one-and-done rule,” which requires athletes to play at least one season of college or be at least one year removed from high school before they can enter the draft.
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell also criticized the culture of college basketball, noting that players see none of the money made by the game.
Williamson pushed back against the calls to leave college basketball, saying his time at Duke only has helped him improve.
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Thumbnail photo via Rob Kinnan/USA TODAY Sports Images