In the least surprising news of the day, Duke superstar Zion Williamson was the first name considered when the NBA draft started Thursday night in New York.
Williamson was overwhelmed with emotion after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver at long last declared he had been chosen by the New Orleans Pelicans.
With tears in his eyes, he told draft broadcaster ESPN, “I don’t know what to say. I didn’t think I’d be in this position. My mom sacrificed a lot for me. I wouldn’t be here without my mom.”
Williamson broke down as he discussed his mom.
“She put her dreams aside for mine,” he said.
When asked what he would say to his new team and city, Williamson said, “Let’s dance. Let’s dance.”
In his solitary season at Duke, Williamson was the greatest draw men’s college b-ball had found in years. Recorded at 6 feet, 7 inches tall and 285 pounds, Williamson was a circles feature reel – with his hazardous dunks as well as with his all-around game.
And also when he blew separated one of his shoes during a game against North Carolina.
Williamson drove Duke to the Elite Eight at the NCAA tournament, averaging 22.6 focuses and 8.9 bounce back.
The Pelicans had just a 6% opportunity to land the top pick after a 33-49 season however beat the chances.
The Memphis Grizzlies took Murray State point protect Ja Morant with the No. 2 pick.
“It means a lot,” Morant said. “Obviously it means that Memphis sees a lot in me. I’m grateful and thankful to them for drafting me. I’m very excited to play in Memphis.”
Duke first year recruit R.J. Barrett was picked third by the New York Knicks and his university team Cam Reddish was chosen by the Atlanta Hawks with the tenth pick, making the Blue Devils the second program to have three players taken in the main 10 of a similar draft (Florida, 2007).
One of the most interesting picks was Darius Bazley, a 6-foot-8 forward who didn’t go to college and didn’t play overseas. Instead he took a year off to prepare for the NBA draft process. He was selected with the 23rd pick by the Utah Jazz.