Everyone needs to calm down about Zion Williamson

By Jesse Brawders
Feb. 22, 2019

I have repeatedly been hearing that Duke F SF/PF Zion Williamson should quit college now and just get ready for the NBA now. Also that college basketball is broken and needs to fixed by lowering the age requirement to enter the draft and if players should earn money for playing for their college. I am against most of this highly and believe people are overreacting, and let me explain.

First, Zion should still comeback and play out the season with Duke if it is in his best HEALTH interest. Not for his PROFESSIONAL interest, but for his health. It was a non-contact injury that could have happened to anyone practicing or playing basketball. This whole situation has been hyped up because it happened to Zion Williamson and also happened on national television. Imagine teammate R.J. Barrett having the same thing happen to him, but in practice with no TV cameras. People would not be freaking out to this extent. Maybe this is just me, but if Zion would quit Duke and start training for the NBA, I would consider him a quitter and would not want him on my team. He didn't tear his ACL or something to that magnitude. He only obtained a minor sprain that might keep him out of a couple of games. The NCAA Tournament and ACC Conference Tournament can really help his draft stock even more if he plays.

Second, the way college athletes play with no pay is fine with me. Players like Zion Williamson are on full-ride scholarships and don't have to pay for college, so he can use the extra money he has to pay for his little amount of medical bills. His bank account will not remember that he had a little bill for a sprained knee when it is swimming in his rookie contract. If you start paying athletes in college, I fear more scandals will come out of it due to players using the money immaturely.

Finally, the NBA should NOT lower the age requirement because the system is already horrible and doesn't need help to be worse. There is already players who play one year of college and go straight to the NBA, which I believe Williamson would have done with or without the injury. Players are entering the league unprepared for the real world outside of the NBA and can struggle. Also, if I was a scout, I would want a player to stay and play in college for at least two season to show that they weren't a one-season wonder (Markelle Fultz). The NBA should adapt the rules that the NFL has, in which a player has to play at least three seasons in college before joining the NFL. Dear NBA, please do not fall under peer pressure and figure out your other problems.

One final thing, it makes since that Nike's stock fell today after the fallout of this situation. I am glad that they are addressing the issue and are in the middle of fixing the shoes. I would bet that this has happened to more shoe companies than Nike, but at least they have the want to fix it.