Duke’s Williamson has a hard choice

Published 3:34 pm Friday, April 5, 2019

By Johnathan Williams

Arguably, one of the best Duke Blue Devils team of all time was shocked as it was defeated by the Michigan State Spartans in the Elite 8 by a score of 68-67 in which was one of the best games college basketball has seen all year.

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For many, this certainly was unexpected as the Blue Devil were projected by most basketball analytics as a clear-cut pick to be raising the National Championship trophy Monday while having one of the most talented rosters in the league.

After this result by the Blue Devils, the question still remains: Will the projected No. 1 pick in the NBA draft (according to Bleacher Report), Zion Williamson, decide to declare for the NBA 2019 Draft on June 20 or will he decide to stay another year under head coach Mike Krzyzewski?

Certain things will factor into this role. One of those factors will be the future of freshman teammates forwards R.J Barnett (who averaged 22.9 ppg, 7.6 rpg, and 4.3 assists)  and Cam Reddish ( 13.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, and 1.6 steals).

According to Bleacher Report, all three of these teammates are projected to be Top 5 prospects taken off  the NBA Draft Board in the upcoming draft. Their decision to stay or leave will have an impact on whether this group will try to compete for a national championship next year.

Money will also come into play for the talented freshman. ESPN reporter, Nick DePaula, indicated that if Williamson decides to declare for the draft, he is projected sign one of the biggest shoe deals for a rookie in NBA  history –  around $100 million dollars.

This alone will be hard for any recruit to back out for an extra year, especially since the NCAA  does not allow it’s players to receive money in any form or fashion.

Whether Zion Williamson decides to stay in college or declare for the NBA Draft, it should be noted that he will leave his mark on the Duke Blue Devils basketball program for years to come.

Johnathan Williams is a South Panola High School student intern. Write to him at jwilliams5854@spanola.net.