Zion's freak injury ripples in basketball, business worlds

Like Williamson, Cousins was a highly-touted college freshman.

With heartbreaking road losses to Miami and Louisville in its last two outings, Clemson became the first ACC team to drop back-to-back one-point games since Wake Forest in 1977 (vs. then non-conference foe Virginia Tech and Maryland), and the first to do so in ACC play since NC State in 1972 (versus Maryland and Virginia).

Following Williamson's injury, some National Basketball Association players have been vocal in criticizing the NCAA as well as voicing their opinion on whether Williamson should sit out the rest of this season to prepare for the draft, where he's the overwhelming presumptive No. 1 pick.

Asked to respond on February 5 to those comments, Williamson turned to his locker room sidekick, walk-on Mike Buckmire, and asked, "Buck, would you hate me if I shut down the season?"

"College is bull...t", the outspoken veteran said. Obviously, college basketball does nothing for you at this point. You've proven you're the No. 1 pick coming out, you've proven your talent. You've proven your talent.

It's also the ideal excuse to shut it down and get ready for the NBA draft and his real future, which has nothing to do with Duke basketball. It's happening. That's my opinion.

"Knowing what I know now?" What happens if I get hurt? At least, not yet. But when he goes down, I'm obviously trying to attack - and I was going to do that anyway. "You enjoy the experience (of college)", he said. "But it's so many risks involved to get to the ultimate goal, which is this level". One of those people that spoke up on social media was Denver Nuggets player Isaiah Thomas who explained how players should just skip the NCAA altogether.

"First, I want to wish him all the best", George said.

"When the economic success of a program thrives primarily because of a player like Zion", writes Khan, " there's no denying that the single year scholarship, stipend and room and board he receives will be severely dwarfed by the revenue he drives by playing".

"It was just a shock for us", Duke forward Cameron Reddish said.

Hopefully, Zion's knee sprain isn't serious or he might have to sue Nike.

And Zion Williamson could have some things of his own to consider, too. "We miss him as a player, but it's not just that".

"If he were to get $20 and a free meal, he'd be a bad kid and get a bad rep ..."

Nike's basketball sneaker sales fell a year ago as consumers move away from performance sneakers to more casual and comfortable shoes. Nike, a company with some $133 billion in market cap that's accrued millions in brand value thanks to its sponsorship of Duke basketball - but cannot compensate the generational talent creating a chunk of that value for the company - could have played a role in damaging Williamson's career, thanks to a questionable product.