sports 5 days ago

Duke star Zion Williamson is heading to the NBA

The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) — By Steve Wiseman The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

April 15-- DURHAM, N.C.-The last of Duke's freshmen to declare for the NBA figures to be the first one drafted come June.

On Monday, Zion Williamson followed through with his plans to enter the NBA draft after his one, stellar season with the Blue Devils.

After averaging 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game for the Blue Devils, Williamson won both ACC and national player of the year awards. He made his announcement to leave for the NBA from St. Louis, where he's receiving the Oscar Robertson Award for national player of the year at Monday night's the U.S. Basketball Writers Association banquet.

The 6-7, 285-pound Williamson, who came to Duke from Spartanburg, S.C., is projected to be the No. 1 pick in the draft by numerous draft analysts.

In a post on Instagram, where he has 3.1 million followers, Williamson thanked Duke and said he "will pursue his next dream" by entering the NBA.

He joins RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish in giving up his final three years of eligibility at Duke to turn professional. They were three of the four freshmen starters the Blue Devils used while going 32-6 and winning the ACC championship this season. All three freshmen are projected to be selected among the draft's top 10 picks.

In his lone college season, Williamson swept the six national player of the year awards recognized by the NCAA: Wooden, Naismith, NABC, Oscar Robertson, AP and Basketball Times.

Williamson entered Duke with a reputation as a prodigious dunker, with his high school highlight videos drawing millions of views and followers on social media.

He proved to be that and much more.

In addition to his points and rebounds, he led Duke in steals (70) and blocked shots (59) despite missing five games and all but 36 seconds of another due to a sprained right knee. Williamson made 68 percent of his shots, including 33.8 percent of his 3-pointers.

In addition to being voted the ACC's player of the year, he made the first-team all-ACC team as well as the league's all-defensive team.

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