Duke star freshman Zion Williamson ripped through his shoe in the opening minute of the UNC game on Wednesday and went down with what Coach K called a mild knee sprain. After the injury it didn’t take long for social media to take aim at the NCAA and the one and done rule. Many discussing the idea of whether Zion should even play for Duke again and what he has left to prove.
It’s no secret the NCAA and its rules are deeply flawed. They make billions of dollars off the backs of athletes like Zion without him receiving a cent. While we’re at it how much has Duke and ESPN made off Zion this year? Millions would be a fair guess.
The other side of the one and done rule is how much has Zion benefitted from his year at Duke? It’s no secret putting on a Duke jersey gets you more notoriety and attention, which could help him leverage that for bigger deals with whichever endorsements he signs (maybe not Nike after last night). It’s reasonable to say Zion might not have that same leverage without a year at Duke. High school phenoms basketball games are never on ESPN anymore since the one and done rule went into effect and the players just don’t get the same visibility as LeBron James once did.
We’ve seen some players bypass the one and done to play overseas and some are starting to use the G League’s new option. The most successful of these players so far has been Brandon Jennings. It’s obviously a smaller sample size, but for whatever reason you choose to believe the one and done players to this point have been more successful.
Personally, I’d love to see Zion play again for Duke. To me the college basketball season will lose a lot of steam and luster without him. This is another angle Zion could potentially use to leverage his value with endorsements, how much will the ratings drop without him playing?
As to what Zion Williamson should do the answer is simple, whatever he and his family think is best for him and his career.
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