While the Duke Blue Devils have one of the best players in the country in forward Zion Williamson, it’s highly unlikely he remains with the program for long. While that’s not due to his age or current grade, it has everything to do with the fact that he’s a near-lock to be the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Williamson, who stands 6-foot-7 and roughly 285 pounds, is just a freshman for Duke, but he’s the nation’s top player and is built like an NBA prospect already. Beyond that, his game is projected to transition to the next level with ease, as he’s dominated college basketball. That’s even more impressive when considering the fact that he’s only 18 years old, and will turn 19 this coming summer.
Zion came to the Blue Devils as arguably the most highly-touted and intriguing prospect in history. And while his freshman year has been enjoyable to watch, fans of Duke and college basketball alike almost certainly will see him at the next level in 2019.
Zion Williamson’s Superb Freshman Season With Duke
While Duke is still in the midst of their 2019 NCAA Tournament run, they’ve played 37 games and Williamson has done literally anything and everything imaginable. Prior to the team’s Elite Eight matchup with the Michigan State Spartans, Zion has posted averages of 22.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks per game.
It’s worth noting that the freshman phenom did miss five games, so he’s posted those numbers over the span of 32 showings while averaging 29.8 minutes per game. He’s thrived throughout the year, but his play during the tournament has been on another level while showing consistency along the way.
Zion Williamson’s Stats in ACC & NCAA Tournaments
After Williamson suffered a knee injury on February 20 against the UNC Tar Heels, he sat out until the start of the ACC tournament. Since that point, he’s played six games and logged 35 or more minutes in five of them (30 in the other). During that stretch, the Blue Devils have gone 6-0, won the ACC title and are making a run through the NCAA tournament.
Zion’s numbers post-injury have been even better, as he’s averaged 26.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks. The belief heading into the 2018-19 season was that Williamson was an NBA-ready prospect coming out of high school. Unfortunately, NCAA rules don’t allow a player to jump straight to the NBA without playing at least one season in college for the time being.
As far as where the Duke freshman will play at the next level, it’s all going to come down to the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery, and based on Williamson’s upside, there’s a lot on the line for the teams involved. Regardless of where he winds up, fans should expect to see Zion thriving in the pros next year.