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Monday, June 24, 2019

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson has interest from seven shoe companies

Zion Williamson

What team ends up drafting Zion Williamson is the most intriguing question surrounding the Duke star. But it’s not the only big one that will be answered in the coming months.

Another major question about Williamson is with what shoe company he ends up signing. According to ESPN’s Nick DePaula, seven different shoe companies have interest in Williamson. In his original report on the matter, DePaula speculated that Williamson could receive offers from six different brands: Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, New Balance, Puma and Anta.

During an appearance on ESPN’s “The Jump” Thursday, DePaula said he has talked to a seventh company that wants to be involved in the bidding for Williamson. He says that the brand is Chinese, like Anta. One company reportedly is willing to offer $10 million a year for Williamson.

Williamson is worth that kind of investment. Not only is he a talented, athletic player, but he also seems to have great character. He has a tremendous following that is only growing and is already a star. And while Nike seems like it could make sense, don’t discount another brand in the mix.

Zion Williamson says there is ‘high chance’ he will enter NBA Draft

Zion Williamson

Duke star Zion Williamson all but confirmed what everyone already knows after his team’s 68-67 Elite Eight loss to the Michigan State Spartans.

Williamson said there is a “high chance” he will forego his final three seasons of eligibility and enter the NBA Draft.

The discussion with his parents should be a brief one. Nobody thought Williamson would be any more than a one-and-done player. He’s projected as a potential first overall pick, and the formal announcement of his decision should come quickly. It’s telling that he all but admitted to it less than an hour after his freshman season ended.

Despite the fact that he won’t get to play in a Final Four, Williamson owned the NCAA in what will be his only year there and put together a lengthy highlight reel during the NCAA Tournament alone. He was the dominant force in Sunday’s losing effort, too, scoring 24 points and grabbing 14 rebounds to go with three blocks and three steals.

Tom Izzo compares Zion Williamson to Superman

Tom Izzo

Michigan State Spartans coach Tom Izzo knows exactly what he’s up against Sunday when his team faces the Duke Blue Devils for a spot in the Final Four.

The Spartans will have to contend with Zion Williamson, who Izzo described as “damn close” to being Superman.

Izzo joked that he might need to borrow Chicago Bears defensive lineman Khalil Mack to slow Williamson down.

When you look at the things Williamson can do on the court, Izzo’s comparison isn’t all that off base.

There was a reason the Spartan coach was so frustrated with Michigan State’s draw, as a game like this feels a lot more like a Final Four tilt than a regional final. Michigan State ultimately will likely look to contain Williamson, clog up the middle, and use their toughness to neutralize him as best they can while daring Duke to beat them from the perimeter. It’s a simple road map for giving Duke problems, but much easier said than done.

Watch: Zion Williamson throws down alley-oop of the tournament

Zion Williamson dunk

Zion Williamson gave us the highlight of the NCAA Tournament, no surprise.

Williamson threw down a monster alley-oop in the second half of Duke’s Sweet 16 game against Virginia Tech to make it 58-52:

The alley-oop was reminiscent of one thrown down by former Duke star Grant Hill in 1991:

The best part is Hill was calling the game for CBS.

Williamson also had an awesome block earlier in the game.

Watch: Zion Williamson got up so high for this block

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson threw a block party on Friday night, and Kerry Blackshear Jr was the guest of honor.

Eight minutes into Friday night’s Sweet 16 game between Duke and Virginia Tech, Williamson delivered a fierce rejection of a Blackshear shot attempt on the baseline:

Some will say that looked like a goaltend by Williamson, and it was close. I didn’t see clear evidence that the ball was going downward before the freshman got up to reject it.

Zion is just a gamer who will look to make plays whenever he can and however he can. This was the latest example.

Watch: Tacko Fall off to hot start against Duke, Zion Williamson

Tacko Fall

Tacko Fall got off to a hot start in his heavily-hyped matchup against Zion Williamson on Sunday.

UCF and Duke squared off in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. All the talk leading up to the game was about Williamson facing the 7-foot-6 UCF big man and whether Zion would be able to dunk on the center, or vice versa.

Fall got a couple of dunks early in the game and also sort of blocked Williamson.

The funny part is Javin DeLaurier spent most of the time guarding Fall for Duke, not Williamson, who was guarding Collin Smith. The media and TV folks wanted you to think it was just those two squaring off though.

Fall took a seat after committing his second foul in the first half, which slowed UCF’s momentum.

Charles Barkley has great reaction to Zion Williamson comparisons

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley is a Hall of Famer and widely considered to be one of the best NBA players of all time, so some might say it is far too early to compare 18-year-old Zion Williamson to him. Barkley has no problem with it, however.

Barkley was asked on Sunday about people comparing his game to Williamson’s, and he said the freshman has more explosiveness than he ever had. He also said he’s “flattered” to be compared to the Duke star.

Like Barkley in his prime, Williamson has incredible athletic ability for his size. The two are about the same height, but Williamson is about 30 pounds heavier than Barkley was during his playing career. That makes his leaping ability even more mind-boggling, and that’s the explosiveness Barkley is likely referring to.

In addition to the physical comparisons, Williamson also seems to have the same bulldog mentality that Barkley had. He has continued to fight back against the narrative that he should shut it down to protect his NBA future, and you can bet Barkley would have done the same.