It’s been an eventful month for Zion Williamson.
The Duke star blew through his shoe less than a minute into the most anticipated game of the season — a matchup with rival North Carolina on Feb. 20 — and missed five games after spraining his knee as a result of the malfunction.
However, he healed just in time for the ACC Tournament and his dominating effort was consistent from his return against Syracuse on Thursday through Saturday’s 73-63 victory over Florida State.
After winning the ACC title, Williamson discussed the challenges he faced while he was sidelined and credited his mom as the reason for his resilience.
“I was sitting on the training table, game’s on, and my mom walks in and I broke down because, you know, I dreamed about that game for so long,” Williamson told reporters after the game. “I just feel like I lost so much and I just cried in her arms.
“But she told me ‘everything happens for a reason’ so I lean on her. She made me feel so much better about it. She taught me how to come back.”
The Blue Devils struggled in Williamson’s absence, winning just three of the six games he was missing in action for. But he was well rested in ACC tournament play, averaging 27 points and 10 rebounds. He also became the first freshman to be named Player of the Year and the ACC tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
With Saturday’s win, Duke has now secured the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.