Zion living up to hype in Columbia regional – Sumter Item

Zion living up to hype in Columbia regional - Sumter Item

UCFs Fall: I wont allow Zion to posterize me

COLUMBIA – The crowd at Colonial Life Arena for the NCAA Tournament first-round game between No. 1 overall seed Duke and East Regional No. 16 seed North Dakota State was waiting for that one moment to explode.

COLUMBIA – The crowd at Colonial Life Arena for the NCAA Tournament first-round game between No. 1 overall seed Duke and East Regional No. 16 seed North Dakota State was waiting for that one moment to explode.

This Photo of RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson is Probably the Greatest Thing Ever

After all, the overwhelming majority were there to see Blue Devil one-and-done phenom Zion Williamson do something out of the ordinary, even those Bison fans who came almost all the way across the country to cheer on their underdog squad. They were there cheering for their squad, but they were wanting to be part of the Zion Experience.

Notably absent was junior Jared Samuelson, the Bison's best 3-point shooter. Samuelson went into the game having made a team-high 38 3-pointers, shooting a team-high percentage of 48.7. Samuelson didn't make a 3-pointer against Duke and only attempted one. Other usually reliable shooters like Rocky Kreuser and reserve Tyree Eady were also blanked.

It didnt really happen in the first half. Duke trailed most of the first half before pulling out to a 31-27 lead at halftime. Williamson was in double digits, but had just one dunk, a rather mundane run-of-the-mill flush for someone who has been a social media sensation for three years prior during his time at Spartanburg Day.

Video: Watch Duke, Zion Williamson advance past NDSU (Extended highlights)

However, the moment finally came at the start of the second half. The 6-foot-7-inch, 285-pound Williamson went by a pair of defenders for a layup that drew a foul put the Blue Devils up by six.

College basketball fans who want to see student-athletes get compensated fairly based on the billions they generate for their schools and the NCAA were gifted with a story about the Zion Cam on Friday. Josh Kendall at The State spoke with Marc Wolff, who is producing CBS’ coverage of the NCAA Tournament for the 35th year, and he let them know that they had hired extra people simply to follow Duke’s Zion Williamson around all day.

Not the best free throw shooter in the world, Williamson missed the shot. However, no one bothered to put a body on him. Bad, bad mistake.

Just in case what, exactly, is where it gets a little creepy. What, exactly, is CBS hoping to capture? Had Zion thrown down some crazy dunks we probably would have seen that, right? But you have to wonder if “in the event something were to happen” speaks to a darker desire. To be there just in case Zion’s shoe implodes again? To be there in case, god forbid, he injures himself?

Williamson retrieved the loose ball, took one step, cocked his left arm back and threw down a thunderous dunk. Far from his best work, but it was what was needed to set the CLA crowd off, as well as light a fire under Williamson and his Duke teammates.

A graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse. He has also written non-Syracuse related things for SB Nation, Neighborhoods.com, 55places.com, and many other outlets. He currently lives in Chicago.

Video: Zion Williamson Puts On Absolute Show In 1st Round Matchup With North Dakota State

The Blue Devils scored 38 points within the first 10 minutes of the second half and never looked back. And the party was on.

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If the slam dunk off the missed free throw was the icing, Williamson did something a few plays later that was the candle on top of the cake. He outran 5-11, 190 Vinnie Shahid for a loose ball, tipping it ahead for a steal. He dribbled behind his back, using his hand on the floor to regain his balance and go in for a reverse layup.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Valley News Live) — North Dakota State played Duke tough for the first half, but the Blue Devils proved why they are the No. 1 overall seed with a blistering second half performance, winning 85-62.

Having had the chance to see Williamson play in the SCISA state championship the past two years at Sumter County Civic Center, it was easy to see the athleticism in the young man. Of course, he was head and shoulders above the talent at that level, and it was pretty much the case when he played AAU ball as well.

One couldnt help but wonder if that talent would translate to the college game, what with Williamson signing with Duke and being a part of such a heralded recruiting class. Remember, he was supposed to be the No. 3 recruit in this class, but he is no doubt the leader of the pack for the Blue Devils.

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​Watch it. Drink it in. And maybe apologize to North Dakota State for good measure considering what they had to go through this evening.

And for me, thats often enough — even if there arent upsets that run counter to conventional wisdom or dramatic moments worth remembering forever over the course of a given day. (The closest we got to something unforgettable was Auburn playing the final minute of a game while seemingly actively trying to lose a lead, with New Mexico State only failing to accede to that demand because of some poor shooting.)

Photo: Zion Williamson Is Wearing New Shoes For Duke-North Dakota State Game

Yes, the No. 1 seed Duke Blue Devils took care of business against 16th-seeded NDSU. The final score was 85-62. But what will perhaps live on far longer than the scoreline is a particular photo snapped by Gettys Kevin C. Cox:

NBA players chime in on unfairness of CBSs Zion Cam

​​Thats… just awesome. Its almost reminiscent of the ​iconic photo of Dwyane Wades alley-oop pass to LeBron James during their tenure with the Miami Heat. 

When Zion Williamson of Duke went down with an injury on February 20th against the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, some people felt as though he should have sat out the rest of the season. Those who felt that way explained their reasoning by claiming that Williamson is a sure-fire first overall pick and shouldnt risk his future NBA career. Zion clearly didnt want to hear any of it as he returned for the ACC Tournament and helped guide his Blue Devils team to victory.

Props to Mr. Cox for snapping this absolute gem. It basically has everything. RJ Barrett stuffing in a reverse dunk. ​Zion Williamson walking on air. A convenient shot of the scoreboard. AND, not for nothing, the basketball perfectly observes photographys rule of thirds.

“When players get hurt it forces you to respond in a different way and just makes us closer as a team because weve been through so much and the fact that were here now, its a brotherhood,” Williamson said. “We just bonded through it all.”

North Dakota States defense is also looking up in pure bewilderment, already down 20-points when the photo was taken. They were simply outmatched.

“I love my teammates and I made a commitment to them when I committed to Duke,” Williamson told ESPN. “I felt like I wouldve been a bad person if I didnt come back so coming back was not an issue.”


Posted in Columbia