College Sports

Zion Williamson, just a freshman, already one of Coach K’s ‘more unique’ players ever

Coach K calls Zion Williamson ‘the perfect storm for uniqueness and success’

Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski tells reporters that freshman Zion Williamson's people skills, coupled with his unique athletic ability and work ethic make him the "perfect storm for uniqueness and success".
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Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski tells reporters that freshman Zion Williamson's people skills, coupled with his unique athletic ability and work ethic make him the "perfect storm for uniqueness and success".

Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski has coached countless All-Americans and NBA all-stars during his Hall of Fame career at Duke and with Team USA.

But Krzyzewski has yet to coach anyone quite like freshman sensation Zion Williamson.

The former Spartanburg Day School star is known for his high-flying dunks, and he has produced plenty of them already during his time at Duke in practices and exhibitions.

But Williamson is more than just a high-flying athlete, according to Krzyzewski and his teammates.

“He’s been a joy to coach... He’s a good basketball player and has guard skills and has fit in fabulously and won the respect of (his teammates) and the coaching staff,” Krzyzewski said Wednesday during ACC Operation Basketball. “Just, I think, one of the more unique basketball players that I’ve had a chance to coach, and the best athlete that I’ve had a chance to coach at Duke.”

Duke junior forward Jack White knew that Williamson was an incredible dunker from watching his highlights, but after playing with him for a few months White described Williamson as a terrific all-around player.

“He’s so much more than just an incredible athlete,” White said. “One thing that sticks out to me is his passing ability, he can really pass the ball.”

Junior forward Javin DeLaurier has also been impressed by Williamson’s versatility and ability.

“You would think someone his size would be like a bruiser, but he’s so much more than that. He’s really impressed me with his work ethic, as well as his skillset, and what a great kid he is,” DeLaurier said. “He’s a tremendous passer. He has a great basketball IQ... He has great touch. He can shoot better than people give him credit for and he can defend as well.”

While Duke players and coaches bragged about Williamson’s ability to do more than just dunk, the McDonald’s All-American is quite the dunker as well.

“I’ve never seen anyone who is 6-7, 275 who can fly through the air like him, that has the body control that he does, that is as skilled as he is,” DeLaurier said. “Right before (Countdown to Craziness) I threw him a little lob, and he literally just floated through the air and I was like, ‘When is he going to come down? What is he doing up there?’ Every time you see it it’s just kind of breath taking.”

Williamson led the Blue Devils with 29 points and gives his thoughts on the exhibition contest

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