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COLUMN: Why it's time to believe the Zion Williamson hype



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Duke's Zion Williamson dunks against North Dakota State University in the first half during the first round of the NCAA Tournament on March 22 at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina. Tribune News Service

If you have been paying attention to college basketball this season, you know the name of Duke University freshman Zion Williamson.

Love them or hate them, the Duke Blue Devils welcomed Williamson as one of the top three high school basketball recruits that signed with the team this season. While he had already begun to make a name for himself at Spartanburg Day School in Spartanburg, South Carolina with his sensational viral dunks that led to South Carolina Mr. Basketball honors, the world had not seen anything yet.

As if three straight state championships were not enough, Williamson’s presence was felt the moment he first suited up for the Blue Devils. Just as the world had been introduced to him during his time in Spartanburg, his leaping dunks and seemingly-endless athletic abilities at both ends of the court catapulted Duke into a No. 1 ranking in the AP Top 25 Poll—a ranking it would finish the season with.

The dunks were impressive, but it left Williamson in an unusual position for someone as talented as him. It appeared that, even though he had lived up to every inch of the excitement that was anticipated before he even set foot on a college court, the media was not completely convinced.

Every game there was a jaw-dropping play, there would always be someone saying that it was all show and it would only last so long. Some even went as far as to suggest he was not even a lock for the top spot in the upcoming NBA Draft. But as the season progressed, that was quickly put to bed.

One does not have to look hard to find out what makes Williamson so special. You could make the argument his shear physical size intimidates opponents enough for him to score with ease. After all, the 6-foot-7-inch, 285-pound freshman has the speed and passing ability of a guard, the size and rebounding abilities of a forward and the strength of a center.

His versatility and dominant nature on the court led Duke to another NCAA Tournament berth, all while shooting an unfathomable 68.4 percent from the field for the entire season—the second highest in the country behind Gonzaga University's Brandon Clarke.

Williamson also became the first player to score at least 55 points and shoot 60 percent through the first two games of the tournament since Billy Donovan and Reggie Miller accomplished the feat in 1987.

With the tournament well under way, there is only a finite amount of games left for Williamson in a Duke uniform before his departure to the NBA. The Sporting News College Player of the Year and ACC Player of the Year has continued to show the world why he has the potential to become one of the best players in the sport of basketball and, to some, he already is.

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