When Duke freshman sensation Zion Williamson blew out his sneaker and sprained his knee, all in one fell swoop, on Feb. 20 during the opening minute of the Blue Devils' contest against rival North Carolina, the reaction was predictable and deafening. Pleas for him to shut down his college career and prepare for the NBA, where he's expected to be drafted No. 1 this summer, came pouring out onto the internet from every angle.

Zion Williamson has a message for those folks.

"For the people that think I should just stop playing in college: thanks, but no thanks," Williamson said in an interview with NCAA that aired Thursday morning, hours before his expected return after a three-weeklong injury hiatus.

"When I'm out on that rectangle," he continued, "nothing else matters. It's just poetry in motion for me. It's what I love to do."

Williamson has missed the last five games recovering from the injury and Duke announced Thursday, hours before tip, that he will return in Duke's ACC Tournament opener against Syracuse.

"I'm enjoying my college experience," he said. "I'm trying to go for that national championship."