Gillen: I Would Have Advised Zion Not To Come Back

Zion Williamson will reportedly play in the ACC Tournament; Pete Gillen doesn't understand why

The DA Show
March 12, 2019 - 11:02 am

Zion Williamson, the presumptive No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, will reportedly return to action for Duke in the ACC Tournament this Thursday. 

Williamson, who was named ACC Rookie and Player of the Year, injured his knee in the first minute of Duke’s game against North Carolina on Feb. 20. The No. 5 Blue Devils (26-5) have gone 3-3 without him, including 0-3 against ranked teams.

That, however, is a Duke problem – not a Zion one.

“I’m stunned he’s playing, to be honest with you,” CBS Sports Network college basketball analyst Pete Gillen said on The DA Show. “If I’m his parents or his dad, his relative – I say, ‘Listen, you’re the No. 1 pick. You’re set for life. You’ve got nothing to gain by playing.’ So I’m stunned if he’s going to play. . . . If I’m Coach K, if he does play, I’m resting him the first game. Don’t overload (him).”

Williamson is averaging 21.6 points on 68.3 percent shooting from the floor and leads Duke in rebounds (8.8), steals (2.2) and blocks (1.8). When the one-and-done phenom went down in the first minute against the Tar Heels, Gillen assumed Williamson’s collegiate career had ended.

“Yes, that was my assumption,” Gillen said. “Why risk it? You’re setting yourself up for life and your family and children and grandchildren. Why take a chance of ripping your Achilles or tearing your ACL or getting hurt?”

Williamson is apparently willing to take that chance.

“He’s a terrific young man, I heard,” Gillen said. “He loves his teammates, he loves playing – so I will not be shocked if he plays. But if I was advising him, I would say, ‘Don’t play.’”