On Monday night, Duke basketball suffered its second loss of the year, shocked at home by unranked Syracuse. The loss came despite a monster 35-point effort by Zion Williamson.
A pair of former NBA greats believe that the phenom freshman forward should consider making it his final game as a Blue Devil.
The Syracuse loss was probably not the most impactful on the court for Mike Krzyzewski’s club on Monday.
Early in the game, star point guard Tre Jones, also a big-time freshman for Duke, left the game with an injury.
It has been revealed as an AC joint separation, which will keep him out indefinitely.
Jones is one of the team’s leaders, and one of the best perimeter defenders in college basketball. He may return in time for the NCAA Tournament, but it is a major setback for both Jones and Coach K’s team.
While the Tre Jones injury wasn’t the impetus of the conversation, ESPN’s Scottie Pippen and Tracy McGrady think Zion Williamson should consider shutting down his college career.
The two were on The Jump with Rachel Nichols. Pippen, the former No. 5 pick and a Chicago Bulls legend, thinks Zion’s already locked up the top pick in the 2019 Draft.
“I think he’s locked up the biggest shoe deal. I think he’s definitely going to be the No. 1 pick. I think he’s done enough for college basketball, that it’s more about him personally now.
“I think for him as a young player… I would shut it down. I would stop playing, because I feel that he could risk a major injury that could really hurt his career.”
McGrady, who skipped college and was the No. 9 pick in the 1997 NBA Draft ahead of a Hall of Fame career, thinks he’d still go with R.J. Barrett No. 1, but agreed that Zion could skip the rest of Duke’s season, citing college football players skipping bowl games as precedent.
“Football players are doing it. Why not? College football players are skipping their bowl games and getting ready for the combine.”
Of course, sitting out for Duke would not be that similar. Players skip exhibition bowl games, but no one from the four teams playing for a national championship—Clemson, Alabama, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma—willingly sat out.
Here’s the full segment:
It seems very unlikely that Zion makes that controversial call.