Ten games into what will almost certainly be his lone season in Durham, Duke’s Zion Williamson has treated college basketball like a rim on a breakaway. Which is to say, he has left it trembling.
On game days, the anointed freshman effectively has a residency on “SportsCenter,” his highlights the fantasy-come-true of any sports-radio personality or TV show producer. Need to fill time? Just discuss the comical absurdity of an 18-year-old throwing down midgame windmills with ease or opine that he’d be unable to handle the scrutiny if the Cleveland Cavaliers were to select him in the NBA draft.
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski shepherded in one of the most heralded recruiting classes of the modern era this summer, an embarrassment of riches featuring the top three prospects in the country. Unsurprisingly, the Blue Devils rank among the top teams in the nation, their lone loss coming against the veteran-laden Gonzaga Bulldogs in Maui. RJ Barrett, the consensus top-ranked player from the 2018 class, leads the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring. Yet it’s Williamson who most often elicits the shock-and-awe moments that keep Instagram’s highlight-reel accounts fully stocked. It’s Williamson who draws comparisons — again and again and again — to the incomparable LeBron James. It’s Williamson who is appointment television.