Duke's Zion Williamson on Not Playing After Knee Injury: 'Thanks, but No Thanks'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2019

CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 09: Zion Williamson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils watches on before their game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Dean Smith Center on March 09, 2019 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Duke Blue Devils star Zion Williamson never seriously considered sitting out the remainder of his freshman season after suffering a knee sprain against the North Carolina Tar Heels on Feb. 20. 

In an interview posted to the NCAA March Madness Twitter account, Williamson brought up how some argued he should've called it a career in college and looked toward the NBA.

"For the people that think I should just stop playing in college and just focus on the NBA, thanks, but no thanks," he said. "I'm not really worried about that. Like, I'm just trying to be Zion and just play the game I love."

NCAA March Madness @marchmadness

“For the people that think I should just stop playing in college: thanks, but no thanks.” Zion Williamson is back tonight for @DukeMBB! https://t.co/cPut3RcMvq

Williamson will return to the court Thursday against the Syracuse Orange in the ACC tournament. He doesn't need to play another second of college basketball, though, to remain the presumptive No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft.

The 6'7" forward is averaging 21.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 2.2 steals per game. Despite missing Duke's final five games of the regular season, he took home the ACC Player of the Year and ACC Freshman of the Year.

Strictly from the perspective of his draft stock, Williamson has little to gain by competing in the ACC and NCAA tournaments. Of course, the opportunity to win a conference title and compete for a national title is obviously difficult to turn down.

Duke is a heavy betting favorite to be the last team standing in the Big Dance. According to OddsShark, the Blue Devils are +210 to be national champions. The Gonzaga Bulldogs and Virginia Cavaliers (+800) are next on the list.