All About the Money

Staff Writer: Ramon Elortondo 

Duke freshman superstar Zion Williamson was involuntarily forced out of February 20’s game at home versus rival North Carolina. Just 36 seconds into the game, almost not surprisingly, Zion completely tore out of his PG1 shoes. The blue rubber sole ripped loose from the white shoe from the heel to the toes along the outside edge, with Williamson’s foot coming all the way through 

Weighing in at 284 pounds, Zion’s brute force was able to rip through the shoe while also devastating a “mild knee sprain”. Williamson grabbed his right knee in pain. He walked off with a slight limp but under his own power before heading back to the locker room with no shoes on his feet.  

zions shoe

It was Zion’s left foot that tore through his shoe, but right knee that was injured. Photo credit: espn.com

Duke fan and senior at Woodstock High School Preston Stubblefield said, “The moment it happened I was like what just happened but the more and more I thought about it, I told myself if this were to happen to anyone, it would be Zion.”  

After an 88-72 loss, the legendary Coach K said Zion’s knee was stable while later finding out he was listed day-to-day.   

Former President Barack Obama, sitting along the baseline near the Duke bench, shouted out encouragement to Williamson as he left the court, and was caught on video pointing out the torn shoe when it happened.  

obama

Obama sat courtside in a game that lost all its energy when Zion suffered the injury. Photo credit: whatsnews2day.com

“It’s crazy how much of a star Zion has become. The amount of buzz he is generating has been unlike anything I’ve seen in college basketball. He is that generational talent like LeBron was coming out of high school. He will without of doubt be the number one pick barring any other catastrophic injury,said Johnny McDowell, a Woodstock senior.  

Duke looked lost without Williamson. Meanwhile, North Carolina took advantage of the Zion missing on the defensive end. There was no on to fill in the lane, allowing North Carolina easy buckets scoring 32 of its first 34 points in the paint and finishing with a 62-28 scoring advantage there. The Tar Heels never trailed, pushed their lead to 22 with about 16 minutes left and held on.   

nc

North Carolina ranks in the top three in ppg, rpg and apg. Photo credit: picksandparlays.net

A lot has been made about whether or not Zion should make the business decision to sit out for the remainder of the season because of how much of a lock he is at number one overall. National media has put hours into covering everything that happened as well as what it meant to the player, and if college athletes should get paid.  

On Friday, Woodstock senior Zac Piper said Williamson should sit down for the rest of the season. Piper claimed that Williamson had done enough in college and that if he were Williamson, he said, “I would stop playing because I feel he could risk a major injury that could really hurt his career.” 

When did it become that the only thing that mattered in collegiate sports was the money? When did the pure love of the game completely vanish when it came to playing college? It seems like all that matters in the world is money.  

One can make the case that the NBA should lower the draft eligibility age from 19 to 18 years old, which is very valid. But one can also argue that in the long run, college basketball and sports in general add to the players value. In Zion’s case this couldn’t be more accurate. Coming out of high school, Williamson was not regarded as the number one prospect in his class. In fact, the number one player was now teammate at Duke, R.J. Barrett.  

zion hs

Zion has one of the craziest hoop mixtapes ever created for a high schooler filled with emphatic dunks and an explosive first step. Photo credit: aseaofblue.com

The knock on Zion was his jump shot. No one ever questioned his power and rare athletic ability. The question was what exactly was he? At only 6 foot 7 inches, it was rare for a player with his game to be so short. Zion was labeled a power forward with a shaky shot from the perimeter, and in today’s game, there is not that much value for a player with that skillset.  

“I would see the highlights of him on Twitter where he would throwdown insane dunks with his head at the rim, but really that was all you saw. A player with crazy hops and power around the rim. We all thought R.J. was the more complete player,” said Woodstock alum, Aaron Arp.  

zion and rj

Zion and Barrett have been one of the deadliest duos in college basketball. Barrett is known as more of a sidekick but he’ll be able to showcase his talent on a bigger scale with Zion out. Photo credit: businessinsider.com

At Duke, Williamson solidified his greatness and catapulted not only his draft stock but also his value as a businessman for what was to come in the business part of the NBA. Zion will probably be the first rookie since LeBron to sign a contract over 90 million dollars now that so many people are talking about what shoe he will wear next.  

Without his time at Duke, Zion would never be receiving this much attention. Yes, Zion is generating millions of dollars in revenue for his school, but they are doing him a huge favor as well. Zion should definitely come back to play when he is fully healthy. Zion shows great emotion while playing and it is obvious that he loves the game, but he also owes it to his teammates to go out and maybe win the March Madness tournament.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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