Zion Williamson Won't End Duke Career Early: I'd Be Letting a Lot of People Down

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2019

DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA - JANUARY 14: Zion Williamson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after making a three-point shot against the Syracuse Orange during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 14, 2019 in Durham, North Carolina. Syracuse won 95-91 in overtime. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Despite some speculation that Zion Williamson should end his college career early and focus on the NBA, the Duke star plans to finish the season.

"I can't just stop playing," the freshman said Saturday, per Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports. "I'd be letting my teammates down. I'd be letting Coach K down. I'd be letting a lot of people down."

This comes after NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen said on ESPN last week that he would "shut it down" if he were Williamson.

"I think he's done enough for college basketball, that it's more about him personally now," Pippen said Tuesday on ESPN's The Jump. "I think for him as a young player (pauses), I would shut it down. I would stop playing, because I feel that he could risk a major injury that could really hurt his career."

However, Williamson doesn't think the same way, as he intends to finish out his freshman year at Duke.

"If I was going to sit out, I wouldn't have gone to college," he explained. "I'm thankful that Coach K gave me the opportunity."

Of course, his first collegiate season has helped him tremendously.

While he was known as an athletic marvel, questions about Williamson's all-around ability and future position made him just the No. 5 recruit in the 2018 recruiting class in the 247Sports composite rankings. However, he is averaging 21.5 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game while seemingly surpassing everyone else in the draft class.

According to Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman, the forward is the No. 1 prospect for the 2019 NBA draft.

Although he can now likely sit out the rest of the year and maintain his status on top of the draft, Williamson doesn't appear willing to consider this strategy.

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