Duke's Zion Williamson Has 'A Lot of Respect' for Tacko Fall Ahead of UCF Game

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 23, 2019

COLUMBIA, SC - MARCH 22: Zion Williamson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils dunks the ball against the North Dakota State Bison in the first half during the first round of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Colonial Life Arena on March 22, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Lance King/Getty Images

Duke forward Zion Williamson told reporters that he "has a lot of respect" for UCF 7'6" center Tacko Fall in advance of the Blue Devils and Knights' second-round matchup.

"He's a very unique player," Williamson said. "I have a lot of respect for him to be that size and move the way he does and have that skill."

On Friday, Fall told Andy Katz of NCAA.com that he wouldn't allow Williamson to dunk on him during their matchup:

NCAA March Madness @marchmadness

“I won’t allow it. I won’t allow him to put me on one of his highlight tapes.” After advancing past VCU, @UCF_MBB’s Tacko Fall tells @TheAndyKatz he won’t allow Zion to dunk on him! #MarchMadness https://t.co/PIMxP5iKFJ

Williamson offered more direct remarks to reporters regarding the Fall comments.

"What is he supposed to say?" Williamson asked. "That I'm going to dunk on him?"

It's not every day that the biggest storyline entering a game is whether one player is going to dunk on another, but that's the case before Sunday's Duke-UCF matchup. The 6'7", 285-pound Williamson is one of the game's best dunkers, and Fall stands at 7'6". A poster slam has the potential to be played on a loop for years.

However, a game also needs to be played, and any dunk storylines could go out the window if the Blue Devils start out Sunday the way they did Friday versus No. 16 North Dakota State, when they trailed with 2:35 remaining in the first half. UCF is coming off an impressive 15-point win over No. 8 VCU and stands numerous classes above North Dakota State.

Still, Vegas Insider lists Duke as a 13-point favorite for a reason, so it's possible the Blue Devils roll over the Knights here as well.

We'll find out the game and poster-dunk results starting at 5:15 p.m. ET Sunday, when the teams tip off in Columbia, South Carolina.