Zion Williamson always planned to play for Duke again.
The freshman star, who has been dealing with a sprained knee, is set to make his return to the court Thursday when the Blue Devils face Syracuse in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament.
Many suggested Williamson should end his collegiate career and focus on preparing for the NBA after he suffered the injury. But the future top draft choice said that was never an option.
“For the people that think I should stop playing in college and just focus on the NBA: Thanks, but no thanks,” Williamson said during an interview with NCAA.com. “I’m not really worried about that. I’m just trying to be Zion and play the game I love.”
“I love playing basketball. I’m going to go out there and do my best and try to work the hardest.”
Williamson originally injured his knee less than 40 seconds into Duke’s first matchup against North Carolina on Feb. 20. The Blue Devils have gone 3-3 in his absence, including a pair of losses to the Tar Heels.
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Williamson has been one of the best players in college basketball this season and is projected by many to be selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft. He’s averaging 21.6 points and 8.8 rebounds while shooting 68.3 percent from the field in 2018-19.
“Playing for (Duke) has made me a better player because I’m just surrounded by great players,” Williamson said. “I’m enjoying my college experience and I’m just trying to go for that national championship. That’s the end goal in college. You’ll never be forgotten if you win a national championship.”
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