Zion Williamson is being mentioned in reports on the federal investigation into payments made to college athletes– specifically, basketball players. Michael Avenatti, under federal trial for fraud amongst other charges, accused Nike of paying him and former Indiana star Romeo Langford in early 2017.
More evidence was recently released that suggested payments made to the families of Deandre Ayton and Bol Bol. Text messages from the head of Nike’s EYBL grassroots basketball program implicated a Kentucky coach “KP”, presumably assistant Kenny Payne but not confirmed.
There is not, however, evidence publicized to implicate anyone associated with Duke, including Zion. Michael Avenatti’s claims do not have grounds as far as the exhibition of the investigation has shown. Bleed blue.
Think about this: Zion Williamson from last season (Heisman Trophy winner alongside every other award possible in college basketball for his position, eventual No. 1 NBA draft pick, social media rockstar, dunking sensation but way, way, way more than a dunker) in prime physical condition.
Hold up– Zion wasn’t in prime physical condition last year?
Well, obviously, Zion was in incredible shape. Like, he was jumping from the free throw line before the season had even started. However, it appears that even that isn’t prime physical condition for him; this picture is getting a lot of attention:
Good gracious. Many were quick to jump on the “not in good enough shape” bandwagon after his post-college, pre-draft break, but that’s out of the question. I’m pretty sure he’s doing alright and it looks like his knee, which he injured minorly in his first summer league appearance, is healed up pretty well (see below).
We can’t wait for Zion to start tearing up the league. The Pelicans open in Toronto to play the reigning champion Raptors, sans Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. Bleed blue.
More bad news for Duke to begin this football season: projected starting wide reciever Jake Bobo will miss time with a fractured clavicle. Bobo had surgery on Friday to repair the injury but is out “indefinitely”. This unwelcome news comes to an offense that has already lost Daniel Jones, as the star quarterback was drafted sixth by the New York Giants in April. Additionally, the core wide receivers in TJ Rahming, Johnathan Lloyd, and Chris Taylor have all gone their separate paths and will not make a return to the program.
The first challenge this year is probably the biggest possible, perhaps other than Clemson (who, praise the football gods, we do not play this year): the Alabama Crimson Tide on August 31. It’ll take all we’ve got. Bleed blue.
There was a time when Coach Mike Krzyzewski was juggling both winning championships with Team USA at the Olympics and World Cups as well as with Duke in the NCAA. While Coach K may have retired from the former, he and Duke have left an indelible mark on the national team. With Gregg Popovich, widely considered the most successful professional coach in the game today, now at the helm, it’s a different team in Shanghai, where Team USA will play its first games in the FIBA World Cup as part of Group E. However, Duke and Coach K are still very much present within the organization.
Jayson Tatum and Mason Plumlee are both on the team after Kyrie Irving, JJ Redick, and Zion Williamson among others denied the offer to join (alongside many of the NBA’s most prominent stars). Additionally, Marvin Bagley III was elevated to the senior team after a day of training camp on Friday, so he will also join the official team.
Coach K made a visit to Las Vegas, where training camp is being held, this past week, which Tatum made note of via Instagram. Tatum said that his former college coach gave him advice, but wouldn’t reveal what was said. “The more experience, the more time I get with Coach– I only got a year with him. I’m always thankful to have him when he comes around.” Jayson spent his freshman year at Duke before departing to become the 3rd selection in the 2017 NBA Draft to the Celtics.
Bleed blue. While most of the NBA’s All-Stars decided not to join Team USA in China, hopefully the young roster can pull out a win in the championship on September 15. World Cup Play starts August 31.
Little is certain in the new NBA landscape but two things are: the logos that will adorn the shoes of Brotherhood members Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish. Both players announced their signing with their respective brands, one a subsidiary of the other, in Instagram posts recently.
Cam Reddish will join more than 60% of the NBA with a deal from Nike, which he announced on Monday. The deal’s terms were not dislocated but it has been released that it is a multi-year arrangement.
Zion Williamson, on the other hand, announced Tuesday that he would join the Jordan Brand, a subsidiary of Nike looking for young stars. Zion checks all of those boxes: he’s only nineteen years old and look no further than his Instagram follower count to find that he is an electrifying force on and off the court. Zion will likely be the face of the brand alongside Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul, both of whom already promote the brand.
Bleed blue. No word yet on RJ Barrett’s decision but it is likely soon to come.
Luckily, the injury wasn’t worse, but Zion Williamson will miss the remainder of the NBA’s Summer League with a deep knee bruise. In the minutes that he played Zion was dominant, with 11 points in the less than a half that he played. He struggled early in a matchup against New York’s Kevin Knox; however, once switched to the center, Zion was able to beat the Knicks’ 7’1″ post defender with his quickness below the basket. Clearly, the Pelicans will try to maximize his abilities in the post.
However, before finishing his first professional game, a knee-on-knee hit ended both his game and Summer League. The Pelicans’ medical staff diagnosed it as a bruised knee– essentially and gratefully the least severe of the numerous knee-related possibilities– but shut him down for the summer to preserve his health. He will, however, surely be able to improve his physical shape by October and be ready to dominate the league when his time comes.
No, not the Hobbs and Shaw commercial: RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson will face off for the first time on a (kind of) NBA court tonight at 9:30 ET in the Las Vegas Summer League. The league is the final and largest of the NBA offseason, usually showcasing the draft crop plus some of the previous year.
While Cam Reddish, now the Hawks’ newest young star, will sit rehabbing an injury, both Zion Williamson of the Pelicans and RJ Barrett of the Knicks will play. Not only will they play, they face off against each other tonight for the first time.
Bleed blue. It’ll be fun to watch their relationship turn just a little bit competitive.