Duke basketball: Zion Williamson returns to his free home in Durham

Duke basketball forward Zion Williamson (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball forward Zion Williamson (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

Zion Williamson shall help Duke basketball flourish beyond the Coach K era.

At age 21 and entering his third season as a pro, former Duke basketball one-and-done Zion Williamson is already one of the most recognizable faces in the NBA. Much of that popularity came from his 2018-19 campaign in Durham, where the 6-foot-7, 285-pound forward played most freely on his way to amassing roughly two dozen individual awards, including the Naismith.

Now, the Zion craze is likely to take on new life across the year to come.

Remember, the 2021 NBA All-Star averaged 27.0 points and 7.2 rebounds while shooting 61.1 percent from the field for the New Orleans Pelicans. And he did so in only his second year in the league and after sitting out most of his rookie season while recovering from knee surgery.

With that in mind, any public displays of Dukie affection from Williamson should benefit the Duke basketball program immensely in the present and for years to come, especially on the recruiting trail, following the 2022 retirement of head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

More free advertising for Duke basketball from spokesman Zion Williamson

Fortunately, Zion Williamson is free-handed when it comes to giving shoutouts to his Blue Devils. Furthermore, his show of support is of the most charismatic variety, emitting nothing but humbly positive vibes.

That was again the case on Sunday.

Williamson made the trip back “home” to the place he perhaps shined the brightest, Cameron Indoor Stadium. While saying hello to the K Academy, the South Carolina native stirred his epic collegiate memories by filming a home-is-where-the-heart-is message for the program’s award-winning Duke Blue Planet productions:

“What’s up, Duke Blue Planet? Zion Williamson here, and I’m back home. Like, you see it: I’m back home. I missed it. I’m glad to be back. Here, I’m here at K Academy. I’m watching these very — pfft — entertaining games. They’re very funny, but they’re very competitive. But I’m just glad to be back, Duke.”

Zion Williamson is sure to have a home in Cameron forever — free of charge — no matter what’s going on at the time.

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After all, his presence alone in Durham is priceless. For so many reasons.