Zion Williamson Enters NBA Draft


CHARLOTTE (WFNZ) -- Duke freshman Zion Williamson, arguably the most hyped prospect since LeBron James in 2003, has officially declared for the 2019 NBA Draft.

He made the announcement Monday on his Instagram page.

Williamson, listed at 6-foot-7 and 285 pounds, is the No. 1-ranked prospect on most draft boards and has been projected to be a generational-type player once entering the NBA.

The New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks are the five worst teams in the league and have the best odds of gaining the top draft spot in the lottery.

"I can't put it into words how special this year was," Williamson said. "Coach Krzyzewski taught me so much about the game of basketball in one year it made me sit back and go 'Wow, I didn't know anything.'"

Williamson had one of the most dominant seasons ever in college basketball by a freshman, averaging 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. Williamson joined Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis as the only freshmen to collect 500 points, 50 steals and 50 blocks in a season.

Williamson missed six games due to a knee sprain he suffered against rival North Carolina on Feb. 20, where his foot ripped through his shoe, causing an outcry from many in the sports world that he should sit out the remainder of the season to avoid risking further injury.

Williamson was named to the ACC All-Tournament and All-America team. He won the Naismith College Player of the Year, AP Player of the Year and the John R. Wooden Award. Williamson also was named the ACC Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, in addition to being named to the ACC All-Defensive, All-ACC First and All-Freshman teams.

Following his injury, Williamson returned for the ACC Tournament and totaled 81 points and 30 rebounds on 33-for-44 shooting from the field in three games en route to a Duke ACC title and tournament MVP honors.

"Growing up as a kid in Florence, South Carolina, I never thought I would have the chance to play for Duke or Coach K, let alone get a chance to play in the NBA," Williamson said.

The hype around Williamson was so big that CBS introduced a "Zion Cam" for viewers to watch just him throughout the NCAA Tournament.

In the four tournament games for the Blue Devils, Williamson scored 25, 32, 23 and 24 points, respectively. No. 1 Duke lost to No. 2 Michigan State in the Elite Eight, falling short of a championship that the Blue Devils were favored to win.

Now, the hype around Williamson will follow him to the NBA.

By Jason Huber