Duke's Williamson declares for NBA draft
Duke freshman sensation Zion Williamson did the expected on Monday when he announced he was declaring for the NBA draft.
Williamson, the consensus player of the year, made his announcement in a video on Instagram.
"I will pursue my next dream and declare for the 2019 NBA Draft," Williamson said near the end of the video. "Thank you Duke. This has been the best year of my life."
Williamson is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick of the NBA draft.
The 6-foot-7, 285-pound Williamson shot 68 percent from the field and averaged 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds in 33 games during his lone season at Duke. He made 33.8 percent of his 3-point attempts and excelled defensively with 70 steals and 59 blocked shots.
Williamson missed five late-season games due to a sprained right knee after his shoe fell apart on court and he fell awkwardly.
He won the Wooden and Naismith player of the year awards and was a highly popular figure throughout the season due to his array of spectacular dunks.
Williamson thanked Duke and coach Mike Krzyzewski during the video and gushed about what a good time he had during his one college campaign.
"I don't think I can put it into words about how special this year was," Williamson said. "The brotherhood was incredible ... everything about this team was special. Coach K was special."
Krzyzewski said in a statement released by the athletic department, "Zion has won every player of the year award, and rightfully so. He was truly spectacular and humble in the way he handled everything. He represented our program and our university in the best possible manner. He at 18 years old, to be performing at this level, and to express himself in such a humble and unique way, is remarkable. His family has been with us every step of the way, and Zion had a remarkable season."
Williamson and the Blue Devils were viewed as a probable Final Four squad but instead lost to Michigan State in the Elite Eight.
The NBA draft lottery is scheduled for May 14, and Williamson will learn that night which team will get the No. 1 pick -- most likely to be used on him.
The New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns, the teams with the three worst records in the NBA this season, will each have a 14 percent chance of winning the lottery.
The Chicago Bulls will have a 12.5 percent chance, the Atlanta Hawks a 10.5 percent chance, and the remaining non-playoff teams have diminishing odds down to 1 percent.
Williamson joins fellow Duke freshmen RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish in declaring for the draft. Point guard Tre Jones has announced he is returning for his sophomore campaign.
--Field Level Media
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