Coming as a shock to no one, one of the most dominant players in program history will officially move on to the next level.
Zion Williamson announced Monday in an Instagram post that he will enter his name in the 2019 NBA Draft, aiming to become the fourth Blue Devil to be taken with the first overall selection alongside Art Heyman, Elton Brand, and Kyrie Irving.
After taking home the ACC Player and Rookie of the Year honors, the Spartanburg, S.C., native also earned a plethora of national player of the year awards, thanks to averages of 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game on 68 percent shooting from the field.
"Zion has won every player of the year award, and rightfully so," head coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a press release. "He was truly spectacular and humble in the way he handled everything. He represented our program and our university in the best possible manner. He at 18 years old, to be performing at this level, and to express himself in such a humble and unique way, is remarkable. His family has been with us very step of the way, and Zion had a remarkable season."
Williamson dominated news back in February during a game against North Carolina in Cameron Indoor Stadium, tearing through his Nike shoe and spraining his knee. After a six game hiatus that saw Duke go just 3-3 in his absence, the 6-foot-7 forward only strengthened his case for the NBA, leading the Blue Devils to an ACC championship and Elite Eight appearance behind 26.4 points and 9.1 boards per contest over his final seven games in a Duke uniform.
His scoring average for the year was the 13th highest in ACC history and his Player Efficiency Rating of 40.8—although sometimes critiqued as a not meaningful stat—shattered the previous previous record of 36.93 by High Point’s John Brown.
"I just want to say thank you," Williamson said in the release. "Thank you for making this season a dream for me and the best year of my life. Everything about this team was special, and learning from Coach K was a blessing. He taught me so much about the game of basketball. Growing up as a kid in South Carolina, I never thought I would have the opportunity to play at Duke. Now I will pursue my next dream and declare for the 2019 NBA Draft."
With the NBA Draft Lottery scheduled for May 14th, 14 teams will hold their breath for a chance, no matter how small, to presumably select Williamson with the first overall pick in June.
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