Duke Basketball: Zion Williamson could actualize flying 3-point tries

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

The highest-flying Duke basketball player of all time needs a new approach from downtown; the answer could lie, yet not likely to happen, in a video that went viral last year of a guy launching so far forward on a 3-point try that it became a simple finger roll.

His shot from downtown looked great straight out of the gates for the Duke basketball team. Actually, the first points freshman sensation Zion Williamson ever scored during the regular season came from a 3-pointer, giving Duke an 11-4 lead on its way to a season-opening 118-84 trouncing of Kentucky on Nov. 6.

But his stroke from beyond the arc hasn’t exactly been a pretty sight ever since.

Flat. Ugly. Sometimes missing everything but air. Other times dinging the rim so loud it sounds like every smartphone in the arena simultaneously receives a text-message alert.

Across the No. 2 Blue Devils’ 11-1 start, the 6-foot-7, 285-pound freak athlete from Spartanburg, S.C., is 3-for-18 from long distance. That’s less than 17 percent.

Probably about time to stop shooting them.

Or find a better method.

Well, the following idea is a tad out there and has about as much chance of becoming reality as the NCAA properly punishing UNC for its having bogus classes for many years, but when it comes to Williamson, fans have seen that they have no right to decide what is and isn’t humanly possible.

So here, as displayed in the video below that went viral about this time last year — courtesy of one of the newest Harlem Globetrotters, former college long jumper, and Greenville, N.C., native, Dexton Crutchfield — is what Williamson could do (again, he almost certainly won’t while playing in Durham, but with the Blue Devils not playing again until a home game against Clemson on Jan. 5, those who write about Duke basketball daily have to get creative and imaginative):

The repertoire of Williamson already includes lethal scoop shots like the one in the video above; that, along with Zion’s similar — if not superior — leaping ability to that of Crutchfield, is what spawned the idea for this article after the video resurfaced on Twitter last week (thanks to Rex Chapman, a former NBA high-flier and sharpshooter who retweeted the video and challenged any of his followers to dispute that the above shot is worth three points — it is, by the way).

And if Williamson has the required touch on his finger rolls and the required amount of jet fuel in the rocket engine that he must be hiding under his jersey when he plays — he already showed during a practice prior to the first game of the Canada Tour in August that he could dunk with ease from the foul line — why not sometimes get a running start on Duke’s possessions and turn his finger rolls into three points?

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It would take plenty of practice. But practice could lead to a perfectly unguardable shot.

Besides, it can’t turn out too much worse than his recent 3-point tries.

Naysayers are likely to start by saying that Crutchfield pulled off his finger roll from a high school 3-point line. They would be correct. However, if they take a second look, they’ll notice that he launched from about a foot behind the line, right about where the college 3-point line would be.

Naysayers would also likely point out that the only way to pull this off would be during a fastbreak. Maybe. Maybe not. No matter when it happened, though, would anyone dare try to get in Zion’s way?


But this article isn’t really meant for naysayers anyways. It’s meant for those who dream — even if a tad unrealistically at times — that Zion could literally change the way the game of basketball is played and change the name that appears at the top of the sport’s GOAT list one day.

And other than his stroke from downtown, it should be pointed out that Zion is off to a historical start to his college career, averaging 19.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.1 steals, and 1.9 blocks while shooting 65 percent from the field and, after his 9-for-10 clip during Duke’s 69-58 win over Texas Tech on Thursday, 71 percent from the charity stripe.

Next. List of celebrity Duke fans. dark

Fix the 3-point shot, either by cutting it off or transforming it into something unseen before in an actual game, and there won’t be much else left to fix.