The hype was there, as it always is for college basketball’s greatest rivalry, but this was different. Ticket prices were through the roof, former President Barack Obama was sitting courtside, and the entire country was ready to see a big-time show featuring two AP top-10 teams. Then, the wind got sucked out Cameron Indoor Stadium in exactly 30 seconds.
Whether you like it or not, everyone is fixated on Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson. He has taken college basketball by storm with his massive frame to go with his jaw-dropping athleticism, and he’s the projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. He was the main attraction for the anticipated matchup against the North Carolina Tar Heels, but his night ended before it could even get started.
As the 6-foot-7, 280-pound freight train named Zion was making a move toward the paint, his Nike PG 2.5 sneaker — a Paul George model — completely busted. His night was over. He left the game, went to the locker room, and never returned.
It was a devastating blow for the Blue Devils, who already lack depth inside and had become accustomed to Williamson being a major factor in every game. Sure, having RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish is plenty on most nights, but nobody could stop Luke Maye and his 30-point, 15-rebound performance was huge in UNC’s 88-72 road victory.
A game that was talked about for weeks turned rather boring in a just 30 seconds because of a Williamson’s shoe. That’s the kind of effect freshman Zion Williamson has on college basketball right now. Even President Obama knew it.
Several NBA players posted their thoughts on social media, too, such as LeBron James, Donovan Mitchell, Trae Young, and former Blue Devils star Grayson Allen.
Thankfully, it sounds like Williamson will be ok. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said Williamson suffered a mild knee sprain and his knee was stable following the game.
“We don’t know how long he will be out,” he said. “I think we’ll find out more about that.”
Hopefully Duke’s Zion Williamson isn’t sidelined for too long after his right knee injury during Wednesday night’s Duke-UNC game. If he is, though, that left shoe will be a hot topic in the NCAA basketball world for weeks to come.