By Ryan Gaydos
Published February 22, 2019
NBA stars renewed calls for Duke basketball star Zion Williamson to forgo the rest of the season after he sprained his knee while he burst through his Nike shoe Wednesday night against North Carolina.
Williamson injured himself in the first minute of the loss against the Tar Heels and didn’t return. The injury sparked calls from DeMarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas and Trae Young, who were among those saying Williamson should sit for the rest of the season.
“Well, knowing what I know now, college is bull----,” Cousins said ahead of the Golden State Warriors’ game against the Sacramento Kings, according to ESPN. “College basketball and the NCAA is bull----. So my advice to him is, 'Do what's best for you and your family.'”
He added: “Obviously college...it does nothing for [Williamson] at this point. You've proven you're the No. 1 pick coming out, you've proven your talent. Get ready for the next level, because it's happening. That's my opinion, knowing what I know now. Obviously, when I was at that age, you enjoy the moment, you're enjoying the experience and all that. But there's so many risks involved to get to the ultimate goal, which is this level. So just do what's best for him and his family."
Thomas took to Twitter to say that certain high school athletes should be able to make the jump to the NBA instead of going to college for a year and then turn pro.
“Too much on the line to be messing with college if you got a legit chance to turn pro,” he wrote on Twitter. “One injury can change somebody career, Zion sit yo a-- down lol and we will be ready for you in the big boy league.”
Young echoed Thomas, saying Williamson should “chill out” for the rest of the season.
“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,” Pippen said. “I would shut it down. I would stop playing because I feel he could risk a major injury that could really hurt his career.”
While the calls are there for the young star to shut it down, Williamson said in January he wasn’t going to stop playing, according to For The Win.
“I just can’t stop playing. I’d be letting my teammates down,” Williamson told The Sports Hub. “I’d be letting Coach K down. I’d be letting a lot of people down. If I wanted to sit out, I wouldn’t have went to college. I came to Duke to play.”
While he’s considered to be day-to-day, it’s unclear what he is thinking now with a month before the NCAA Tournament gets underway and a few months before he likely turns pro.