Article by: Justin Imler
So, in case anyone wasn't already aware, Duke and North Carolina is easily the biggest rivalry in all of college basketball. At the time of their first matchup of the season on February 20th, they both were ranked in the top 10, with Duke being the number one team in the nation.
This has a lot to do with future number one pick Zion Williamson. Zion has been a monster on the court and has been the focal point of the blue devils this season. However, within the first thirty seconds of the game, Zion landed awkwardly on his left foot and blew through his shoe entirely. Now as impressive as that might be, everyone is still very concerned about Zion, his knee injury, and about his future for the remainder of the college basketball season.
But before we dive into what Zion's future might look like, let's talk about what happened during the remainder of the game. This was the most anticipated game of the college basketball season so far, and the ticket prices proved that, coming close to Super Bowl value. According to Fox Business, the average resale price for a ticket was $3,296, which is mind-blowing. For comparison, the average resale price for a Super Bowl ticket earlier this month was $4,656, so it's safe to say that a lot of people would have loved to see this game live.
After Zion went down, Duke just seemed flustered for the remainder of the game, especially on offense, with the final score being 88-72 in favor of the Tarheels. Other stars like RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish stepped up, scoring 33 points and 27 points respectively. Those two carried the team, with the remainder of the roster only putting up a combined 12 points. It looks like Zion will be out for at least a few weeks, so players like Tre Jones need to step up big time in future games for Duke if they want to remain towards the top of the college basketball rankings.
Now back to Zion, by far the biggest question that has been asked since his injury is "Should Zion shut down for the remainder of the season?" Initial reports are that this injury is just a minor knee sprain, and he is already being ruled day to day. So, it doesn't seem like Zion will miss that much time, unless he chooses another route. There have been talks in recent week about the idea of Zion sitting out the remainder of the season to preserve his NBA draft value, and avoid potential injury. After this knee injury, those talks have been kicked into high gear, but the question remains, what will Zion choose to do?
NBA legend Scottie Pippen was quoted over a month ago on ESPN's "The Jump" saying that Zion has done everything he needed to do to secure himself being the number one pick in this year's draft. Pippen continued to say that the best thing for Zion right now is to call it a season, and not risk any serious injury. Zion saw these comments and made a statement saying that he does not plan on sitting out. He mentioned that he loves playing for Duke and Coach K, and likes the team and atmosphere that he's been around so far this season. Now only time will tell if this minor injury has changed his mind at all. I don't think anyone would blame him, or be upset with him, if he chose to sit out, except maybe Duke fans.
As for my personal opinion, I think Zion will be back on the court for the Blue Devils when he is 100% healthy, and not a day sooner. If I were Zion, I wouldn't come back until the tournament, or maybe the ACC tournament, but no sooner than that. It seems like Zion takes his commitment to Duke seriously, and still has a goal set to win a championship with his teammates. Zion can very well make that goal a reality if he's back on the court next month.
Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment your thoughts and opinions down below!
To get news and updates on all things sports, be sure to keep it here, with Heated Sports!