Zion Williamson to Duke may be the first of numerous dominoes to fall

 

Zion Williamson
Adding Zion Williamson gives Duke one of the best recruiting classes ever.

Zion Williamson, the No. 2 player in the ESPN 100, has recently made the announcement to commit to Duke University, effectively making Zion Williamson the college-version of Kevin Durant. The Blue Devils have now received commitments from the top 3 players in the 2019 class through R.J. Barret, Zion Williamson, and Cam Reddish respectively. They also have the No. 9 commitment of Tre Jones to bolster their already star-studded class. This makes everyone beg the question whether Zion Williamson has his best interests at heart with Coach K and the Duke Brotherhood, or whether an FBI investigation may rock Durham once more…

Recently in the NBA, we’ve seen the creation of the ‘Super team’ and the decline of loyalty to teams as players now act either like the numerous gold diggers of Beverly Hills or Gollum from Lord of the Rings. The NCAA has been like a small island paradise, free of ring chasers and (thanks to the NCAA’s student-athlete exploitation) free of big money signings, but now with Zion’s announcement, we may see more commitments in the future that make us question if students really think about receiving the necessary coaching, game time, and experience to reach the end of goal of playing in the NBA.

There is no doubt that the NCAA has had a history of colleges paying students under the table to help entice them to play for their school. And it’s understandable why. In the 2013-14 season, the Duke Blue Devils Basketball team made $27 million in revenue for the school. However, we aren’t here to talk about the exploitation of student-athletes; that’s for another day. With all top 3 recruits, it is without a doubt that the NCAA, and possibly the FBI, currently have Duke University under a microscope. Now I’m not guaranteeing Zion is getting paid by someone somehow to play at Duke, but I simply don’t understand why Zion would commit to the Blue Devils over the likes of becoming an on-campus legend at Clemson or Auburn, Kentucky or Kansas whilst padding his stats so much that it makes head scouts salivate over the idea of slotting a triple-double machine into their professional scheme. Yes, a national championship winning player is worth more than one without a ring. But a player averaging a triple-double, whilst carrying their team deep into March Madness, is worth so much more than an underperforming prospect on a winning team.

You would assume someone would step in and tell Zion all of this? Well yes, a lot of people would’ve. Including those coaches from the 27 other teams than Duke. So, this makes me think something is up. But then I remember I’m forgetting one factor that should be banned by the NCAA, as it’s just not fair for other schools: Coach K. Coach K is the greatest college basketball coach of all time, and according to Zion, one of the largest reasons he decided to join the ‘Duke Brotherhood’. Zion said in his commitment video that “Coach K is the most legendary coach that ever coached college basketball and I feel like going to Duke University (means) I can learn a lot from him at my time there”.

Obviously, in the spotlight of the press, Zion isn’t going to announce he’s going to Duke thanks to a lump-sum donation of $50’000 to his father’s church for repairs (cough Cam Newton cough). In all honesty, his announcement does sound sincere. And maybe those, like me, who are currently questioning his commitment are just jealous that he didn’t choose our school? Maybe we are all just over thinking it. We should probably just move on, I’m sure Coach K is just a recruiting genius and we should all just get back to focusing on tweeting 3-star prospects constantly? Then again, Zion was wearing a nice gold Rolex and diamond encrusted cross necklace during his announcement…

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Angus Crozier is a verbal Stanford commit (providing Stanford actually give Angus a spot in their class) who has played and loved every sport in the world. Despite living in the upside-down land known as Australia, Angus manages to keep up-to-date with American and European sports and loves to write about them. You can keep up with Angus' life on Twitter @ProbablyAngus and on Instagram @angus.crozier

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