Zion Williamson has no plans to shut down Duke career: 'I'd be letting a lot of people down'

Duke's Zion Williamson shot down the idea of shutting himself down before the end of his first -- and presumably only -- college basketball season. On Saturday, in response to an idea floated by Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen this week to end his college season early and mitigate risk of injury before his NBA career, Williamson pushed back on the proposition and said he intends to keep playing in Durham.

"I can't just stop playing," he said via Yahoo Sports. "I'd be letting my teammates down. I'd be letting Coach K down. I'd be letting a lot of people down.

That doesn't make Pippen's proposition farfetched. As he said, Williamson has locked up the No. 1 overall pick, along with a huge shoe deal and endorsements that will line his pockets when he turns pro. Those are all likely to be true, whether Williamson plays one more game or 20. But even considering the pros and cons, which include risk of potential injury that could impact his draft status, Williamson says he wouldn't have gone to college if he had intended to skip out early.

"If I was going to sit out, I wouldn't have gone to college. I'm thankful that Coach K gave me the opportunity."

Williamson scored 27 points and pulled down nine rebounds in No. 1 Duke's 72-70 winning effort over No. 4 Virginia on Saturday, just days removed from his career-high 35-point outing against Syracuse. He seems content living -- and loving -- his brief college stint before turning pro. But there is perhaps no one more relieved to hear those words than Coach K and Duke. With Williamson in the fold and with no plans to fold his season early, the Blue Devils proved Saturday -- as they've done all season -- that they're the overwhelming favorite to win the national championship this spring.

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