CHARLOTTE, NY – Two minutes are everything.
Zion Williamson had gone to North Carolina a month after suffering a knee injury. Six frustration games – including three losses – for Duke and a whirlwind of debate over the future of the newcomer superstar filled the gap. And then, two minutes after Duke's 84-72 win against Syracuse in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament on Thursday, Williamson reminded the basketball world of what he had missed.
Williamson stole a spout, penetrated from inside the Foul Line space and delivered a powerful tomahawk dunk. Cell phone cameras flickered, the crowd broke and it felt as if Williamson had never left. And that was just the beginning.
The Duke Freshman finished the game 1
Zion Williamson made all 13 shots, five at full speed. Flying dunks, scoring 29 points on his return to win the Duke No. 5 on Thursday night in the quarter-finals of the Atlantic Coast Conference against Syracuse 84: 72.
A month ago there was a debate over whether Williamson should return everything. On Thursday, he said he had no other way.
"Everyone has a right to an opinion, but I knew that I would return all the time," Williamson said.
The Duke Freshman said he did not know of his perfect night for shooting until a team manager informed him and played for success by stating that he "could not throw a tennis ball into the ocean" from the free throw line (2 for 9 ). , Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim has uncovered the hype computer where Williamson did not want it.
"I've been in this game for over 50 years and have seen some great players," Böheim said. "I'm not saying he's better than these guys, but he can do things that nobody in this game has done, he's crazy, he's a different type of player, there are no guys like him."
Jay Bilas breaks down Zion Williamson's influence on Duke in his first return match against Syracuse.
Williamson, who won the ACC award as Player of the Year, despite missing the last month of the regular season, changed the dynamics of both ends of the court for a team that endeavored to find an identity without him. His five steals opened the transition game for Duke and he helped the Blue Devils dominate the orange in color. Perhaps equally important to Duke, he showed that he is healthy enough to change the momentum against North Carolina in the third part of this season's rivalry, which will appear in the semi-finals on Friday.
Williamson was asked after the game how eager he had been to get back. Mike Krzyzewski interrupted the answer.
"How about, how much did I want him out there?" the Duke coach said.
Not that Williamson's return was not undisputed.
After another Williamson Dunk, about eight minutes before the game, Howard Howard's singer [Syracuse] extended his leg, which turned out to be an effort, stumbling the Duke star as he retreated to the defense. The move caused a stir on social media, and broadcasters disrupted the move during the game. Afterwards, Böheim quickly defended his player by calling it a "manufactured" story, saying that there was no journey.
Howard offered a similar refutation, saying he had no intention of violating Williamson, and pointed out his career at Syracuse As a proof, he is not a dirty player.
"I mean, if you said I tried to trip him, I do not understand," Howard said. "I realized I stumbled on him and tried to give him a little hand at the same time, I mean, it's the heat of the game with a very tough defender and I tried to open, get the ball and get the ball out quickly … he's a fucking athlete and a damn player I have great respect for him I will not wait four years to get there to stumble people. "
Williamson in turn He said he had not noticed the trigger incident until after the game and seemed baffled by the controversy. However, he had a lot to say about the heated debate over his sneakers that followed his February injury.
Williamson wore Paul George Nikes, who ruptured during a spin on the opening holdings of Duke's North Carolina on February 20, Williamson said it was the second time he had blown out a Nike shoe after running the Nike shoe in the summer Top of a Kyrie Irving model had ripped through.
After the high profile injury, Nike sent Representative Herzog to meet with Krzyzewski and Williamson, traveled to China to work on a modified version of the Kyrie 4 shoes with extra padding. Williamson was also instructed to turn the shoes more frequently.
Nike made a statement on Thursday before Williamson's return: "We are delighted that Zion is back on the field, having worked closely with the Duke basketball team to investigate the issue, we are confident that We have continued to work with Duke and all of our affiliate programs to ensure that we offer the best product for their athletes. "
Krzyzewski also supported the brand. [19659002"WirdenkenesistderbesteSchuhsonstwärenwirnichtbeiihnen"sagteKrzyzewski