Williamson: Not Returning To Duke Would Have Been Selfish
Zion Williamson says he never considered not returning to play for Duke after his knee injury
Zion Williamson always knew he would wear a Duke uniform again.
The star freshman forward sprained his knee less than 40 seconds into the Blue Devils' first matchup with North Carolina in late February and missed the next five games.
Many suggested Williamson should end his collegiate career and focus on preparing for the NBA after he suffered the injury.
But, he said on Thursday that was never an option.
"For starters, I love basketball," Williamson told reporters ahead of Duke's Sweet 16 matchup with Virginia Tech. "I'm not just going to sit out and watch my brothers play. And the other thing is I made a commitment when I decided to come to Duke.
"So, I felt like I wouldn't have been honouring that commitment if I would have just been selfish and said 'I'm done for the season.'"
Williamson returned for the ACC Tournament and led his team to the postseason conference title.
He then scored 25 points in Duke's round of 64 victory over North Dakota State before tallying 32 in his team's narrow win against UCF.
"I feel like I just owe it [to my team]," Williamson said. "They were out there battling each game. They'd be, like, 'we're out here fighting for you.' So, it meant a lot to me. I was just ready to get back out there with them."
Williamson has been the story of college basketball this season and is widely projected to be the first pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. He enters the Sweet 16 averaging 22.5 points and 8.8 rebounds.
"That's why I feel like players come to Duke, they have a winning history," Williamson said. "You want to be part of a great season. The season has gone very well, even though we faced a lot of adversity, but I think the season has exceeded my expectations with how well it's gone."