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Zion Williamson entering NBA draft after 1 year at Duke

Zion Williamson is leaving Duke after one high-flying season to go into the NBA draft.

Broadly projected as the highest total select within the June draft, the AP nationwide participant of the 12 months introduced his determination Monday.

The 6-foot-7, 285-pound Williamson captivated all of school basketball along with his freakish, once-in-a-generation athleticism, his power at each ends of the ground and his omnipresent air of mystery.

The Atlantic Coast Convention participant and rookie of the 12 months averaged 22.6 issues — tied for the league lead with teammate RJ Barrett — and eight.nine rebounds. Alongside the way in which, he was the face of school basketball this season, mechanically bobbing up with a minimum of one highlight-reel play or show-stopping dunk consistent with recreation.

His determination to show professional got here as no wonder. In truth, he spent the season greeting NBA chatter with a playful wink and a realizing nod.

He mentioned it will be “dope” to play on a hypothetical New York Knicks crew with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Upon studying that LeBron James and Stephen Curry had been speaking about him throughout All-Megastar weekend, he spoke back that he is “hoping to be there competing in opposition to them subsequent 12 months.”

All over his lone faculty season, he helped the Blue Devils earn the No. 1 score within the ultimate AP Best 25 and the highest total seed within the NCAA Event. Duke used to be knocked out by means of Michigan State within the East Regional ultimate.

Now that he is headed to the NBA, one key subplot to observe is which sneaker corporate will land his endorsement.

In some of the signature moments of the season, Williamson blew out his left Nike shoe — the PG 2.five, the signature shoe of Oklahoma Town celebrity Paul George — and sprained his proper knee within the opening minute of what was a lopsided house loss to rival North Carolina.

The affect used to be fast — Nike’s inventory value took a success the next day to come, and the shoe corporate despatched a crew of representatives to campus to analyze. When Williamson returned more or less 3 weeks later for the ACC Event, he wore a couple of changed size-15 Nikes from the signature line of Irving, a Boston Celtics All-Megastar and previous one-and-done participant at Duke.

Williamson joins Cam Reddish and Barrett as classmates headed to the professionals after one season. Level guard Tre Jones says he’s going to go back to university for his sophomore 12 months.

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Extra AP faculty basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP—Best25

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